Energy

Discredited ‘Silent Spring’ Is Still Being Taught In College Classrooms

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Rachel Carson’s discredited “Silent Spring” is being taught in more college classrooms than the “Harry Potter” series or “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Carson is the 27th most commonly assigned female author in college, according to an analysis of  1.1 million college syllabi published by Time magazine Thursday. Her work is widely considered to have inspired the modern environmental movement.

The book led to a nationwide ban on the pesticide DDT for agricultural uses, even though the science behind “Silent Spring” has been thoroughly debunked.

“‘Silent Spring'” had huge cultural and political impacts, so it’s understandable why people read  the book, but students should read it with a critical eye. Not only was Carson rebuked in Science magazine when her book was first published, her anti-pesticide alarmism—particularly related to DDT–continues to have deadly consequences,” Dr. Angela Logomasini, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Today, it is widely acknowledged that Carson overstated the dangers of DDT, according to a diverse array of groups including the conservative think tanks such as American Enterprise Institute and civil rights groups like the Congress of Racial Equality. It is widely acknowledged that a reduction in DDT use has led to a dramatic rise in malaria cases — over 214 million new cases of malaria occurred in 2015, according to the World Health Organization.

“DDT can be used safely and in limited quantities in and around homes to repel mosquitoes and save lives, but many governments ban or severely limit its use because of Carson-generated alarmism,” Logomasini continued. “Meanwhile, people continue to get sick from diseases like Malaria, Dengue, and now the Zika virus.  An estimated half a million people—mostly children–die every year from malaria alone.”

The Environmental Protection Agency even admitted “DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man … The use of DDT under the regulations involved here does not have a deleterious effect on freshwater fish, estuarine organisms, wild birds or other wildlife.”

Even Carson’s claims that DDT use harms birds, the original justification for banning DDT, have been thoroughly debunked.

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