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Ghostworkers and GreensThe Cooperative Campaigns of Farmworkers and Environmentalists for Pesticide Reform$
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Adam Tompkins

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780801456688

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801456688.001.0001

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The Budding Movement for Pesticide Reform, 1962–1972

The Budding Movement for Pesticide Reform, 1962–1972

(p.35) 3 The Budding Movement for Pesticide Reform, 1962–1972
Ghostworkers and Greens

Adam Tompkins

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the budding movement for pesticide reform during the period 1962–1972. It begins with a discussion of Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring, which introduced the public to the adverse effects of pesticides by addressing the unexplainable sicknesses and death that plagued people and livestock living in a fictional town. It then considers how concerned scientists disseminated information about the ill effects of pesticides directly and indirectly to the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee and environmental organizations. It also discusses the growing concern of both environmentalists and farmworker groups about pesticides, particularly DDT, as well as their development of fairly different strategies in their attempts to make change. The chapter argues that the differences in strategies limited but did not preclude opportunities for collaboration between farmworkers and the environmental movement, especially in mounting legal challenges. Their efforts paid off when in June 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency issued an order to ban nearly all uses of DDT in the six months following.

Keywords:   pesticide reform, Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, pesticides, scientists, United Farm Workers Organizing Committee, farmworker groups, DDT, environmental movement, Environmental Protection Agency

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