Over fifty-four years since it was first published, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring remains a divisive book. The exposé led to the birth of the modern environmental movement and the banning of DDT for agricultural purposes. Fans hail Carson as an empowering whistleblower. Critics brand her as an anti-science ideologue.
The truth is somewhere in between….In the 1950s, DDT spraying programs prevented hundreds of millions of cases of malaria, especially in the developing world, saving an untold number of lives. At the same time, the wanton spraying of the pesticide, especially for agricultural use, was prompting insect resistance, precisely as Carson claimed.
“It was short on data and long on anecdotes,” pediatrician and science advocate Paul Offit summed up in his recently-released book, Pandora’s Lab.
“Unfortunately, Carson… gave birth to the notion of zero tolerance – the assumption that any substance found harmful at any concentration or dosage should be banned absolutely.”
Carson’s vibrant and forceful writing made it all to clear to readers that the pristine “natural” world was full of insidious, invisible, chemical dangers. This nascent fear would eventually evolve into chemophobia, the irrational aversion to chemicals, that runs rampant today. It is no coincidence that chemophobia’s modern front person, Vani Hari, the “Food Babe,” has been compared to Rachel Carson.
The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: HOW RACHEL CARSON AND “SILENT SPRING” GAVE BIRTH TO CHEMOPHOBIA