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Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, which in 1962 exposed the hazards of the pesticid e DDT, eloquently questioned humanity

's faith in technological progress and help ed set the stage for the environmental movement. Carson, a renowned nature author and a former marine biologist with the U.S. Fis h and Wildlife Service, A native of rural Pennsylvania, she had grown up with an enthusiasm for nature matched only by her love of writing and poetry. Her books Under the Sea Wind, The Sea Around Us (which stayed on the New York Ti mes bestseller list for 86 weeks), and The Edge of The Sea were hymns to the int er-connectedness of nature and all living things. DDT, the most powerful pesticide the world had ever known, Unlike most pesticide s, whose effectiveness is limited to destroying one or two types of insects, DDT was capable of killing hundreds of different kinds at once. Developed in 1939, it first distinguished itself during World War II, clearing South Pacific island s of malaria-causing insects for U.S. troops, while in Europe being used as an e ffective de-lousing powder. Its inventor was awarded the Nobel Prize. Silent Spring took Carson four years to complete. It meticulously described how DDT entered the food chain and accumulated in the fatty tissues of animals, incl uding human beings, and caused cancer and genetic damage. A single application o n a crop, she wrote, killed insects for weeks and months, and not only the targe ted insects but countless more, and remained toxic in the environment even after it was diluted by rainwater. Many eminent scientists rose to her defense, and when President John F. Kennedy ordered the President's Science Advisory Committee to examine the issues the boo k raised, its report thoroughly vindicated both Silent Spring and its author. As a result, DDT came under much closer government supervision and was eventually banned. The most important legacy of Silent Spring, though, was a new public awareness t hat nature was vulnerable to human intervention. For the first time, the need to regulate industry in order to protect the environment became widely accepted, a nd environmentalism was born. Appearing on a CBS documentary about Silent Spring shortly before her death from breast cancer in 1964, she remarked, "Man's attitude toward nature is today cri tically important simply because we have now acquired a fateful power to alter a nd destroy nature. But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is in evitably a war against himself [We are] challenged as mankind has never been chall enged before to prove our maturity and our mastery, not of nature, but of oursel ves." 1. Bio-accumulation: Compounds accumulate in living things any time they are taken up and stored faster than they are broken down (metabolised) and excreted. Daily we bioaccumulate many vital nutrients such as vitamin A, D and K, trace minerals, essential fats and amino acids. This is a normal process for our well-being. The downside, however, is that this also happens with substances that are harmful. 2. Bio-concentration: The process by which living organisms can collect and concentrate chemicals

At first the gnats were brought under control. In order to control an insect called a gnat (a relative of the mosquito) at Clear Lake. Dieldrin and a host of others being banned. it becomes more concentrated as it moves through the food chain. many hundreds of birds were discovered dead. Researchers realised that the chemical had been taken in by the smallest life form.e. the authorities used the chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticide dichloro diphenyl dichloro ethane (DDD a relative of DDT). but soon their numbers increased. That is why we still find these chemicals in our food today. After 23 months. An example of this process is the case of Clear Lake. north of San Francisco. So the authorities again sprayed one part DDD to 50 million parts water. Worse still. including those used on pl ants for medicinal and cosmetic purposes. fish and frogs examined also had the chemical in them. Chemicals and technologies developed for warfare were later adapted for use in agriculture and pest control. 3. Over the past 40 years many scientific studies have verified Carson s findings reg arding the adverse effects of agricultural chemicals. the poison had been passed up the food chain. Why? Did it biodegrade? No! It had been absorbed into the bodies of life that the lake supported. in the winter following the second treatment. in a diluted form of one part DDD to 70 million parts water. No trace of DDD was found in the water. extraordinarily high levels of DDD were found. . many more birds were found dead. which led to known carcinogens such as DDT. much higher than was ever put into the water. After examination of the fatty tissue of the birds. World Wars I and II served as a watershed for the modern agrichemical industry. In the winter after the first treatment. concentrated. Bio-magnification: The process that results in the accumulation of a substance in an organism at higher levels than are found in its own food i. California. One of Carson's most important discoveries was what is known today as biomagnification. the plankton from the lake still had the chemicals in it. And again. and then passed on to the next life form until its concentrations reached the phenomenal levels found in the birds. particularly in root vegetables and fish.from the surrounding environment. All the birds.

They have immense power merely to poison but to ge them in sinister and ways. Since DDT wa s released for civilian use. in a triumphant vindication of Darwin s principle of the survival of the fittest. a home in insipid s urroundings. hence a deadlier one has always to be developed and t hen a deadlier one than that. They occur in the mother s milk. Over the course of time since man s advent. destructive insects of ten undergo a flareback . and we are at the top of most foodchains. This has happened because insects. and all life is caught in its violent crossfire. after spraying. birds.. in the words of the ecologist Paul Shepard. Thus the chemical war is never w on.DDD was added to the water in very low concentrations (0. they destroy the very enzymes whose function is to . For these chemicals are now stored in the bodies of the vast majority o f human beings. a process of escalation has been going on in which ever more toxic materials must be found . in the eggs of birds and in man himself. a multiplication (biomagnification) of 250. in earthworms burrowing in soi l.Why should we tolerate a diet of weak poisons. idealizes life with only its head out of water. It has happened also because. a small percentage o f the more than half a million species of insects have come into conflict with human welfare in two principal ways: as competitors for the food supply and as carriers of human disease. insects inhabited the earth a group of extraordinarily varied and adaptable beings. inches above the limits of toleration of the corruption of its own environment.500ppm.. Such thinking. yet it was found that plankton organisms were found to contain 5ppm. a circle of acquaintances who are not quite our enemies.000! It has been established since this original work that some compounds can bio-magnify through the food chain many millions of times. a bio-magnification of 125. Thus. They have been found in fish in remote mountain lakes. and probably in the tissues of the unborn child. and domesti c and wild animals so universally that scientists carrying on animal experiments find it almost impossible to locate su bjects free from such contamination. for reasons to be described later. reptiles. They have entered and lodged in the bodies of fish. in numbers greater than before. and carnivorous species of fish stored a massive 2. The whole process of spraying seems caught up in an endless spiral. the noise of motors with just enough relief to pr event insanity? Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite fatal? Residues of these chemicals linger in soil to which they may have been applied a dozen years before. hav e evolved super races immune to the particular insecticide used.02ppm). as we shall not enter into the most vital processes of the body and chan often deadly see. regardless of age. Plant-eating fish had been found to contain 40-300ppm. Long before the age of man. or resurgence.

they prevent th e normal functioning of various organs. pigs. It is a world where a flea bites a dog. will rid him of fleas by making his blood poisonous to them. goats. it is claimed. and they may initiate in certain cells the slow and irreversible change that lea ds to malignancy. bio-concentration and biomagnification will take place with practically all substances our bodies are exposed to. where an insect may die from vapors emanating from a plant it has never touched. Perhaps this is the next step. As yet no one seems to have proposed a human sy stemic that would make us lethal to a mosquito.protect the body from harm. The sad truth is that when we introduce synthetic chemicals into our environment. This is not a scientific approach that benefits society. cows. Given the recent introduction of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) into the agricultural supply chain. deer. Bio-accumulation. The hazards discovered in treating cattle wo uld presumably apply to the dog. but a science that uses society for profit and experimentation. Understanding this concept is very important in protecting us from the adverse effects of chemical exposure. Arsenic-contaminated environments have also caused sickne ss and death among horses. and bees. It is a world where the enchanted forest of the fairy tales has become the poisonous forest in which an insect that chews a leaf or sucks the sa p of a plant is doomed. Epidemics of chronic arsenical poisoning involving whole populations over long periods are on record. it takes many years for us to discover what really happens. they block the oxidation processes from which the body receives its energy. fishes. despite this record arsenical sprays and du sts are widely used. Carson s book is just as relevant today as when it was written in 1962. and dies because the dog s blood has been made poisonous . where a bee may carry poison ous nectar back to its hive and presently produce poisonous honey. You may now give your dog a pill which. .