Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Rachel Carson's 100th birthday remembrance certainly brought out a diversity of viewpoints ("A deadly legacy," Op-Ed, May 31). Was she a visionary who eliminated toxic chemicals from America's environment, or was she a radical whose actions are responsible for millions of malarial deaths?
I hope that the next centennial anniversary of her birthday will put her accomplishments into proper perspective. During a time when any chemical that could be safely manufactured and used was approved, she pointed out environmental and human health problems of persistent organic pollutants - chemicals designed to kill - occurring beyond their manufacture and use points. The process of democracy at its finest allowed the analysis, debate and banning of these chemicals over two decades. There is no other arena in history where man has reversed a technological course for environmental reasons.
PCB, DDT, toxaphene, chlordane, heptachlor, lindane, aldrin, dieldrin, hexachlorocyclohexane and hexachlorobenzene were banned in developed countries because they were suspected of causing cancer or were acutely toxic in the environment.
As these bans were pursued in developing countries, argument focused upon malarial vector (mosquito) control. The real battle should have been the use of DDT in general …