History Faculty Publications and Presentations

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The 1981 publication of David Weir and Mark Shapiro’s exposé Circle of Poison almost ten years after the banning of DDT represented how the landscape of understandings about hazardous chemicals and their regulation had changed. The book exposed two things. One was the ways power had reconfigured itself, which in turn highlighted the ways the story Silent Spring told, which effectively moved hearts and minds to make change happen. One thing that remained hidden, however, to both Rachel Carson and Weir and Shapiro, was the degree to which the chemical industry traded at the local and regional level, conducting international trade, emulating the poor and often bad faith practices of the transnational corporations. The failure of Circle’s narrative, coupled with an overlooked and extensive network of mom-and-pop chemical companies, failed to build on Silent Spring’s legacy.


This article was published open access under a CC BY licence: https://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Global Environment



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