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Environ Res. 2013 Jan;120:126-33. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2012.08.011. Epub 2012 Sep 21.

Persistent pollutants: a brief history of the discovery of the widespread toxicity of chlorinated hydrocarbons.

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Department of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 722 West 168(th) Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Rachel Carson's Silent Spring is often depicted as the beginning of a broad societal concern about the dangers of DDT and other pesticides. Attention to the other chlorinated hydrocarbons, specifically PCBs, is seen as an outgrowth of the late 1960s environmental movement. Carson's work was clearly critical in broadening the history to include the environmental impact and set the stage for the path breaking work decades later by Theo Colburn and others on endocrine disruptions associated with other synthetic chemicals. This article reviews the development of the understanding the dangers of the chlorinated hydrocarbons in the decades preceding Carson's book. Although little noticed, Rachel Carson makes this observation herself.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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