Pick your poison

+ See all authors and affiliations

Science  13 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6227, pp. 1208
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa3383

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text


The sacred success story in environmental literature is that of Rachel Carson, who awakened America to the dangers of indiscriminate pesticide use and led the charge to ban the sale of DDT and other chlorinated hydrocarbons in the United States.  Those opposed to this legislation typically argue that DDT saved more lives than it harmed, but there is another reason to be wary of the vilification of DDT. Jacob Darwin Hamblin considers the provocative idea that banning DDT diverted attention away from the most toxic pesticides in a review of Banned: A History of Pesticides and the Science of Toxicology.