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Carson, Rachel Louise

food increasing pesticides ddt

(1907–64) US naturalist and science writer: warned of the dangers of modern synthetic pesticides.

Rachel Carson was born in Springdale, PA, and studied biology at Johns Hopkins University. After teaching at Maryland (1931–36) she worked as a marine biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service (1936–49). In The Sea Around Us (1951) she warned of the increasing danger of large-scale marine pollution. With The Silent Spring (1962), however, she created an awareness world-wide of the dangers of environmental pollution and roused public concern for the problems caused by modern synthetic pesticides and their effects on food chains. Her work was the starting point for the increasing ecological and conservationist attitudes emerging in the 1970s and 1980s. Although generally desirable these new ‘green’ attitudes can be unfortunate: eg in Sri Lanka there were 2.8 million cases of malaria in 1948 but by 1963 this had been cut to 17 cases by DDT spraying. As a direct result of Carson’s The Silent Spring spraying was stopped in 1964 and by 1969 there were 2.5 million cases. Much study of DDT, introduced by , has shown it can damage food chains for some birds and fishes and accumulates in the human liver.

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