Legacy of Rachel Carson Essay

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Rachel Carson has forever changed the very dynamic of the United States. Her books brought environmental issue to the forefront of public concern. She advocated fiercely and passionately for a change in the government’s policy with the environment. Her work and tireless effort centered on the growing problem of insecticides and pesticides in the general public, namely DDT. The chemical itself was extremely prevalent in the domestic markets but also a popular insecticide used during WWII. In one of life’s great ironies, the creator of DDT, Paul Muller, received the Nobel Prize in Medicine 1948. DDT left a gilded imprint on America’s memory but Rachel Carson was to show the opposite was true. The publication of Silent Spring sent a wave of …show more content…
By 1962, Rachel Carson published another book called Silent Spring. The purpose of Silent Spring was to warn the adverse effects pesticides have on our environment, almost mentioning DDT exclusively. Unlike her other books, Silent Spring met heavy resistance and slanderous criticism. Scientists, Politicians, businessmen, and some chemical companies – Monsanto and Velsicol- took part in the campaign to slander Carson and her work. One possible reason for the tenacious counterattacks against Rachel Carson and Silent Spring lay with her results. DDT before Carson was commonly believed to be non-lethal to humans. In fact during the war DDT was used to protect the health of the soldiers from insect borne disease, such as malaria in the Pacific theater. The effectiveness of DDT during the war led to the commercialization of the insecticide for the general public. DDT became the most heavily used chemical in the United States and maintained as one of the principle insecticides until 1964. But increasing research of pesticides over the years, and including Rachel Carson’s work, illustrated an adverse trend of the chemical leeching into the general public. The prevalence of DDT on farms affected peoples’ diets because the residue was found in some Americans’ fat cells. In Silent Spring, her results expressed pesticides and insecticides, such as DDT, are the leading cause of environmental distress in the United States. Rachel Carson’s results in Silent Spring back in the

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