If Rachel Carson Were Writing Today

Healther Pilatic has written an instructive article, “What would Rachel Carson write: the top 4 untold pesticide stories,” in the September 20, 2012 issue of Pesticide Action Network. She speculates on what Carson would still be reporting on today’s under reported pesticide issues.

  1. GMOs are DDT 2.0. Genetically engineered (GE) crops are the present-day growth engine of the global pesticide industry; and we know as much about their health and environmental impacts as we did about DDT in 1962 (when Carson’s book, Silent Spring, was published.)
  2. 50 years later, still flying blind. We know very little about pesticide use patterns in the U.S. because, with the exception of California, use is not tracked. So we have spotty data at the national level that is nearly useless.
  3. Huge testing loopholes. Pesticide products are often rushed to market without adequate testing, by using “conditional registrations,” and the products remain in use for years before being tested. Examples include Bayer’s bee-killing clothianidin and DuPont’s tree-killing Imprellis. 68% of new pesticides enter the market through conditional registration.
  4. Chemical Cartel + Farm Lobby = 50 years of pesticide policy paralysis. From 1988 to 1995, more than 65 bills to tighten pesticide regulation were introduced in Congress. None were passed.

Ms. Pilatic concludes with this. “I imagine that Carson would today name the most disabling dynamic of our times as: corporations running roughshod over democracy.”


About donlouis

The author has long had a keen interest in staying healthy and fit, and in doing whatever I can to keep the natural environment unpolluted and a healthy space for people and all animals. As a former Board Member of a municipal water district, I regularly had to deal with the issue of water quality. I first became aware of radiation hazards from toxic materials while working on uranium for nuclear reactors. During the 1960s I was tuned into the global hazard from Strontium 90 raining down from atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs. While working in the chemical industry in later years I became aware of the many forms of chemical contaminants entering the environment every day, and resolved to do something about it. I am able to make sense out of the voluminous descriptions of common toxic chemical because of my training in chemistry, with a Ph.D. degree and several decades of research and development work in the chemical industry. My training and experience enables me to present to readers reliable and current information on the topic of chemical hazards in the environment, and their threats to human health. All my life I have loved hiking and camping in nature. Skiing, river kayaking, and tennis have been my favorite physical activities. Nature photography is my artistic passion.
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