Silent Spring

Chapter 14: One in Every Four

Cancer is becoming an increasingly common occurrence, impacting as many as 1 in 4 people in America. A main contributor to this marked increase is the increased use of pesticides and everyday exposure to carcinogenic materials. Americans are exposed to small doses of carcinogens daily and these “safe doses” eventually add up to create a serious problem.

Surprising Fact

Society's need to advance and create new technology is truly a double-edged sword. The desire and drive that facilitated the development of smartphones is the same reason more and more Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year. The growth in population and its subsequent increase in demand of food necessitated the development of new and more powerful growth hormones and pesticides, thus raising the rates of carcinogenic exposure and eventual cancer.

Compared to 1958, medicine (thankfully) has gained a more thorough understanding of the nature of cancer and now posses more treatment options.

Carson presents her argument by stating the jarring facts and then explaining the impact those statistics have on the environment and why they should be significant to the reader. She concludes the structure of her argument by detailing the necessary steps to solve the problem.

Throughout the chapter Carson primarily uses ethos to convey her point. "It is a disservice to humanity to hold out the hope that the solution will come suddenly, in a single master stroke. It will come slowly, one step at a time. Meanwhile as we pour our millions into research and invest all our hopes in vast programs to find cures for established cases of cancer, we are neglecting the golden opportunity to prevent, even while we seek to cure."

Carson argues that the increased use of pesticides and carcinogens in daily life has lead to the increased rates of cancer. Based on the statistics presented in the chapter, I agree with her conclusion.