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Main | What Smells in Secret Trade Deal ยป

May 29, 2007

Rachel Carson's Legacy

One hundred years ago on May 27, Rachel Carson was born. Considered by many to be the mother of the environmental movement in the U.S., Carson's seminal book Silent Spring was published in 1962 and changed the way we think about toxic chemicals in the environment. Carson died two years later of breast cancer. As IATP's Kathleen Schuler and Carin Skoog write in a commentary that appeared in the Duluth News Tribune, "Her writing warned of the risks of DDT and other pesticides to the environment, to wildlife and to human health. Though many have tried to discredit Carson, her courageous work has stood the test of time and offers continued inspiration for reducing our exposure to toxic chemicals."

And boy have they tried to discredit her. Opposite Schuler and Skoog's commentary is a rebuttal by a representative of the industry-funded Competitive Enterprise Institute, charging that Carson used "junkscience to advance an anti-chemical agenda." CEI began as a front group funded largely by the tobacco industry, and most recently has fought efforts to address global warming with big money from Exxon/Mobil.

Fourty-five years after her death, the toxic chemical industry is still scared of Rachel Carson.

Ben Lilliston

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