“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

— William Wilberforce

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Rachel Carson on Detecting Injury Before Symptoms

We are accustomed to look for the gross and immediate effect and to ignore all else. Unless this appears promptly and in such obvious form that it cannot be ignored, we deny the existence of hazard. Even research men suffer from the handicap of inadequate methods of detecting the beginnings of injury. The lack of sufficiently delicate methods to detect injury before symptoms appear is one of the great unsolved problems in medicine.

“But,” some will object, “I have used dieldrin sprays on the lawn many times but I have never had convulsions like the World Health Organization spraymen—so it hasn’t harmed me.” It is not that simple. Despite the absence of sudden and dramatic symptoms, one who handles such materials is unquestionably storing up toxic materials in his body.

Storage of the chlorinated hydrocarbons, as we have seen, is cumulative, beginning with the smallest intake. The toxic materials become lodged in all the fatty tissues of the body. When these reserves of fat are drawn upon the poison may then strike quickly.

— Rachel Carson, author, Silent Spring (1962)



Carson R. Silent Spring. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 1962: p190.

One Response to Rachel Carson on Detecting Injury Before Symptoms

  1. Richard Hutchinson Reply

    April 27, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    If you are waiting on “Science” or any government agency to
    keep you healthy and well I pity you… You can find much of what you need to know at “GreenMed Info…

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