Rachel Carson Council

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Rachel Carson Council

The Rachel Carson Council focuses on the dangers of pesticides and other toxic chemicals and their impact on human health, wildlife , and the environment . After the 1962 publication of her classic book on pesticides, Silent Spring, Rachel Carson was overwhelmed by the public interest it generated, including letters from many people asking for advice, guidance, and information. Shortly after her death in April 1964, colleagues and friends of Carson established an organization to keep the public informed on new developments in the field of chemical contamination. Originally called the Rachel Carson Trust for the Living Environment, it was incorporated in 1965 to work for conservation of natural resources , to increase knowledge about threats to the environment, and to serve as a clearinghouse of information for scientists, government officials, environmentalists, journalists, and the public.

The Council has long warned that many pesticides, regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and widely used by homeowners, farmers, and industry, are extremely harmful. Many of these chemicals can cause cancer , miscarriages, birth defects , genetic damage, and harm to the central nervous system in humans, as well as destroy wildlife and poison the environment and food chain/web for years to come.

Other, less acutely toxic chemicals that are commonly used, the organization points out, can cause "delayed neurotoxicity," a milder form of nerve damage that can show up in subtle behavior changes such as memory loss, fatigue, irritability, sleep disturbance, and altered brain wave patterns. Concerning termiticides used in schools, "children are especially vulnerable to this kind of poisoning," the Council observes, "and the implications for disturbing their ability to learn are especially serious."

Through its studies, publications, and information distribution, the Council has provided data strongly indicating that many pesticides now in widespread use should be banned or carefully restricted. The group has urged and petitioned the EPA to take such action on a variety of chemicals that represent serious potential dangers to the health and lives of millions of Americans and even to future generations .

The Council has also expressed strong concern about, and sponsored extensive research into, the link between exposure to toxic chemicals and the dramatic increase in recent years in cancer incidence and death rates. The group's publications and officials have warned that the presence of dozens of cancer-causing chemicals in our food, air, and water is constantly exposing us to deadly carcinogens and is contributing to the mounting incidence of cancer, which eventually strikes almost one American in three, and kills over 500,000 Americans every year.

The Council publishes a wide variety of books, booklets, and brochures on pesticides and toxic chemicals and alternatives to their use. Its most recent comprehensive work, Basic Guide to Pesticides: Their Characteristics and Hazards (1992), describes and analyzes over 700 pesticides. Other publications discuss the least toxic methods of dealing with pests in the home, garden, and greenhouse; non-toxic gardening; ways to safely cure and prevent lawn diseases; and the dangers of poisons used to keep lawns green.

The Council's board of directors includes experts and leaders in the fields of environmental science , medicine, education, law, and consumer interest, and a board of consulting experts includes scientists from many fields.

[Lewis G. Regenstein ]



Rachel Carson Council, Inc., 8940 Jones Mill Road, Chevy Chase, MD USA 20815. (301) 652-1877, Fax: (301) 951-7179, Email: [email protected], <http://members.aol.com/rccouncil/ourpage/index.htm>