What is the contribution of "Silent Spring" to Toxicology?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Carson's work played a very large role in the emergence of toxicology as a field that impacted biological sciences and ecology.  Considering that the branch focuses upon the "harmful effects [of substances] when they are introduced to living organisms," Carson's work is vital to this course of study.  Carson's primary focus was to study the effect of pesticides upon the natural ecosystem of living organisms.  Carson was able to create the understanding that the effects of pesticides is a long ranging impact that accumulates over time as more and more organisms become impacted by it. Carson meticulously and scientifically details how different pesticides have different impacts on different organisms and in the process, she explores the toxic effects when they are introduced into the atmosphere and absorbed.  In exploring how the effects of different pesticides were from a toxicologist point of view, Carson was able to gain greater awareness and emphasis on what was being done in the prolonged and widened use of pesticides with the avoidance of natural solutions.  Part of this resided in the realm of what she term "Neanderthal Science" and another part of this was in the pesticide industry, itself.  In raising awareness on a toxicology level to the problem of pesticides, Carson was able to vault the awareness of "harmful substances" impact on all natural life in a meaningful and relevant manner.

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