In the 100 years since Rachel Carson’s birth, U.S. production of synthetic chemicals has soared, from less than 10 million pounds a year to more than 300 billion pounds a year.
In the 65 years since women joined factories in droves to help the nation’s wartime effort, thousands of women have worked in jobs with exposure to chemicals that cause breast cancer in animals, yet the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has not required mammograms as part of medical screening for workers.
In the 35 years since DDT use was banned in the United States, residues of the pesticide have lingered in the country’s food supply, including 87 percent of the milk samples that the U.S. Department of Agriculture tested in 2005.
In the 30 years since unleaded gas was introduced in the United States, blood lead levels have decreased markedly in Americans.
In the 20 years since the Com-mission for Racial Justice of the United Church of Christ published a landmark report showing that racial composition—even more than income level—is the crucial factor shared by communities exposed to toxic waste, people of color have remained more likely than whites to live in areas with commercial hazardous sites.
In the 5 years since 3M phased out products based on the persistent organic pollutant perfluorooctane sulfonate, levels of perfluorinated contaminants in the blood of U.S. residents have dropped by 50 percent.