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Banned: A History of Pesticides and the Science of Toxicology (2014)

af Frederick Rowe Davis

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"Rachel Carson's seminal book Silent Spring, published in 1962, stands as one of the most important books of the twentieth century. Powerful and eloquent, the book exposed the dangers of indiscriminate chemical pesticide use. It also inspired important and long-lasting changes in environmental science and government policy. In this thought-provoking volume, Frederick Rowe Davis sets Carson's scientific work in the context of the twentieth century, reconsiders her achievement, and analyzes the legacy of her work in the light of toxic chemical use and regulation today. Davis examines the history of pesticide development alongside the evolution of the science of toxicology. He also tracks legislation governing exposure to chemicals from the early 1900s to the end of the century. Against this historical backdrop, the author affirms the brilliance of Carson's careful scientific interpretations drawing on university and government toxicologists. And yet, while Silent Spring instigated legislation that successfully terminated DDT use, other warnings were ignored. Carson and others recognized the extraordinary toxicity of organophosphate insecticides, yet until recently these dominated pesticide markets in the United States and worldwide. In a tragic irony, one poison was replaced with even more dangerous ones. This compelling book urges new thinking about the ways we develop, use, evaluate, and regulate pesticides while taking into account their ecological and human toll."--Jacket.… (mere)

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When the public protests, confronted with some obvious evidence of damaging results of pesticide applications, it is fed little tranquilizing pills of half truth. We urgently need an end to these false assurances, to the sugar coating of unpalatable facts. It is the public that is being asked to assume the risks that the insect controllers calculate. The public must decide whether it wishes to continue on the present road, and it can do so only when in full possession of the facts.

—Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
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"Rachel Carson's seminal book Silent Spring, published in 1962, stands as one of the most important books of the twentieth century. Powerful and eloquent, the book exposed the dangers of indiscriminate chemical pesticide use. It also inspired important and long-lasting changes in environmental science and government policy. In this thought-provoking volume, Frederick Rowe Davis sets Carson's scientific work in the context of the twentieth century, reconsiders her achievement, and analyzes the legacy of her work in the light of toxic chemical use and regulation today. Davis examines the history of pesticide development alongside the evolution of the science of toxicology. He also tracks legislation governing exposure to chemicals from the early 1900s to the end of the century. Against this historical backdrop, the author affirms the brilliance of Carson's careful scientific interpretations drawing on university and government toxicologists. And yet, while Silent Spring instigated legislation that successfully terminated DDT use, other warnings were ignored. Carson and others recognized the extraordinary toxicity of organophosphate insecticides, yet until recently these dominated pesticide markets in the United States and worldwide. In a tragic irony, one poison was replaced with even more dangerous ones. This compelling book urges new thinking about the ways we develop, use, evaluate, and regulate pesticides while taking into account their ecological and human toll."--Jacket.

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