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Before Silent spring; pesticides and public health in pre-DDT America

Author: James C Whorton
Publisher: Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press [1975, ©1974]
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Modern consumers are well aware that the food they eat is tainted by pesticidal residues; they are less aware that their great-grandparents faced the same hazard. The author's history of this public health menace emphasizes that insecticides have been contaminating produce since the introduction of chemical pesticides in the 1860s. This book examines the period before the publication of Rachel Carson's famous  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: History
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: James C Whorton
ISBN: 0691081395 9780691081397
OCLC Number: 948040
Description: xv, 288 pages 23 cm
Contents: The insect emergency --
The lingering dram --
"Spray, o spray" --
Regulatory prelude --
Regulatory perplexities --
Regulatory publicity --
"No longer a hazard" --
Epilogue --
Bibliographic notes --
Index.
Responsibility: [by] James Whorton.
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Abstract:

Modern consumers are well aware that the food they eat is tainted by pesticidal residues; they are less aware that their great-grandparents faced the same hazard. The author's history of this public health menace emphasizes that insecticides have been contaminating produce since the introduction of chemical pesticides in the 1860s. This book examines the period before the publication of Rachel Carson's famous 'Silent Spring', tracing the origins of the residue problem and exploring the complicated network of interest groups that formed around the issue. The author shows how economic necessities, technological limitations, and pressures on regulatory agencies have brought us to 'our present dilemma of seemingly having to poison our food in order to protect it.' In the first part of the book, the agricultural and medical literature of the past century is used to analyze the emergence by 1920 of a public health danger of serious proportions. The second part draws heavily on the unpublished records of the Food and Drug Administration to document how the ineffective handling of this danger established precedents for present pesticide abuses. This particular aspect of food adulteration has not been adequately dealt with before; in previous histories of food and drug control, it has, at best, only been mentioned. This book clarifies a significant area of history of food regulation while providing the historical perspective for a health problem of contemporary urgency. -- from Book Jacket.

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