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Silent Spring Historical Context

This Study Guide consists of approximately 88 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Silent Spring.
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Historical Context

The Rise of Synthetic Pesticides

So influential a role did Carson's Silent Spring play in the quickening of concern about pesticides that it is often assumed that she was the first to call attention to the problem. But pesticides had been in wide use since the nineteenth century, and debates about their effects on health had been going on for decades. But the nature of the chemical threat changed dramatically after World War II, and Carson was the first popular writer to explain this development to Americans.

During the early twentieth century, the most commonly used chemical pesticides were arsenic compounds. They were deadly enough to cause a few health scares, but a far cry from the poisons that wartime chemical weapons research bequeathed to the world—an entirely new and ever expanding family of man-made toxins called organochlorines, the most notorious of which was DDT. The new...

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This section contains 511 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Silent Spring Study Guide
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Silent Spring from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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