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Meet Amazing Americans Activists & Reformers Rachel Carson
 
Carson testifying
Carson testifying

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The Consequences of Silent Spring

Reading Carson's book changed many people's ideas about the environment and inspired some to take action. People wrote to their representatives in congress and asked them to do something about the misuse of pesticides. When several senators created a committee to research environmental dangers, they asked Carson to speak to them about pesticides. Carson recommended that the government regulate and reduce pesticide use, and that it ban the most toxic pesticides. She said that a citizen of the United States had the right "to be secure in his own home against the intrusion of poisons applied by other persons."

President Kennedy understood the importance of Carson's book. He asked his Science Advisory Committee to research Carson's claims in Silent Spring. In 1963 the Committee released a report called "The Uses of Pesticides." It supported Silent Spring. Environmental activists continued to push the government to regulate pesticides. Changes in federal law in 1964 required companies to prove that something did not cause harm before they could sell it. In 1972, activists pushed for and won a ban on DDT, the pesticide that started Carson's research for Silent Spring. And in 1970 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created "in response to the growing public demand for cleaner water, air and land." Who knows what the world would be like today if Rachel Carson had not written Silent Spring?


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