Silent Spring was fulfilled in the United States with passage of environmental legislation such as the Clean Water Act, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, and the Toxic Substance Control Act in the 1970s. Carson's writings, television interviews, and testimony before Congress alerted a nation and the world to the unintended effects of persistent, bioaccumulative chemicals on populations of fish, wildlife, and possibly humans. Her writings in the popular press brought attention to scientific findings that declines in populations of a variety of birds were directly linked to the widespread use of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) in agriculture, public health, and horticulture. By the 1970s, DDT and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were being banned or phased out, and the intent of these regulatory acts became apparent in a number of locations across the United States, including the Great Lakes. Concentrations of DDT and its major product of transformation, dichlorodiphenylchloroethane (DDE), were decreasing in top predators, such as bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), osprey (Pandion haliaetus), colonial waterbirds, and other fish-eating wildlife. Eggshell thinning and the associated mortality of bird embryos caused by DDE had decreased in the Great Lakes and elsewhere by the early 1980s.
Additional publication details
Ecotoxicology of organochlorine chemicals in birds of the Great Lakes