A PERSONAL NOTE
Twenty-six years ago, when we bought our first and only home in Evanston, elm-tree spraying was in full swing – and the sound of the saws cutting down the elms was often heard in our neighborhood. That summer I found several dying robins in our yard. One I brought into our house, hoping to revive it, to no avail. The next year I read Silent Spring and realized what had happened to the robins.
Eight years later, I taught several sections of a special freshman composition course on the environment and population at the Circle Campus of the University of Illinois. My enthusiastic students wrote term papers on subjects ranging from the depredations of the US Bureau of Reclamation to the dangers from auto pollution to the harmful effects of pesticides. Little did I know then that my physical symptoms, largely headaches, were related to my body’s accumulation of toxic substances, including the pesticides I had acquired from sprayed foods as well as from neighborhood spraying.
In 1986, a blood test prescribed by Dr. Theron Randolph revealed that I was in high percentiles (among those persons given the test) for two solvents and five pesticides, including DDE (a metabolite of DDT), heptachlor, and dieldrin – all three registered by the EPA since the 1970s as carcinogens.
I have just returned from five weeks at a detoxification center in Los Angeles, trying to rid my body of some of these toxic substances. But for Rachel Carson and Dr. Randolph, I would never have known what was causing my symptoms and would not have known what to do to help get myself better.
Article from NOHA NEWS, Vol. XIII, No. 1, Winter 1988, page 4.