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Resolution Honoring Environmental Advocate Rachel Carson Delayed

A resolution to honor what would be the 100th birthday of groundbreaking environmentalist Rachel Carson has been hindered by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) planned to submit the resolution, co-sponsored by three other senators, but decided to delay its introduction after Coburn indicated he will block its passage.

Coburn, a medical doctor, has a history of disputing Carson’s research, telling the New York Times in 2006 that arguments against the widespread use of DDT constitute “junk science” and generate “myths that have provided aid and comfort to the real enemy ‘ mosquitoes.”

Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring warned against the environmental and human health impacts of inappropriately using the pesticide DDT. Her work provided the impetus for the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970 and strong environmental advocacy in the US, according to the Washington Post. Partly because of Carson’s work, the US prohibited many uses of DDT in 1972. Carson died in 1964 from cancer.

Sources:

Washington Post 5/23/07; New York Times 9/15/06