This video segment adapted from American Experience: "Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring" tells the story of how biologist Rachel Carson was driven to write Silent Spring, a book that questioned the safety of pesticide use in the United States. The most famous pesticide at the time was DDT, a chemical that had saved millions of lives in World War II from insect-borne disease and was thought to be safe. But Carson found evidence that DDT was poisoning birds, and represented a real threat to humans as well. The video states that Carson was not against the use of chemicals altogether; rather, she thought the chemical industry was pushing their overuse for its economic gain, at the expense of health and the environment.
© 2014 PBS & WGBH Educational Foundation. All rights reserved.