Silent Spring Institute

week 14:  this week i'm gonna... help identify the causes of breast cancer

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson was a courageous, outspoken woman and an extraordinary scientist. In 1962, she published Silent Spring - a vivid portrayal of nature imperiled by the overuse of pesticides. Her persuasive arguments in the book helped spark the modern environmental movement, while also inciting rage in the chemical industry, whose representatives threatened her with lawsuits and labeled her as hysterical. 

Despite these attacks, Carson remained steadfast and unshaken, and she testified before Congress soon after the publication of her book. She wore a wig during her testimony to hide the effects of her radiation treatment - ironically, Carson herself was battling breast cancer, one of the many diseases potentially linked to pesticides. Less than two years after the publication of Silent Spring, Carson died of metastatic disease.


The mission of Silent Spring Institute is to identify the links between the environment and women’s health, especially breast cancer. The organization’s groundbreaking studies have shined a spotlight on the health risks associated with toxic chemicals where we live and work – areas that have previously been ignored in cancer research. 

Silent Spring was founded in 1994 after members of the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition called for a scientifically sound investigation into elevated breast cancer rates on Cape Cod. They created a new laboratory and named it Silent Spring Institute in tribute to Rachel Carson, whose landmark book, Silent Spring, launched the modern environmental movement. 

Historically, the breast cancer research establishment has focused heavily on treatment, with little investment in prevention. Silent Spring focuses on prevention by partnering with physicians, public health and community advocates, and other scientists to identify and break the links between environmental chemicals and women’s health. The Institute’s pioneering community-based approach to research works to uncover findings that can help save lives and stop people from getting sick in the first place.

See more about Silent Spring and their work in the video below.

Silent Spring recently launched a free smartphone app called "Detox Me" which will walk you through simple, research-based tips on how to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals where you live and work. It also keeps track of your progress and can remind you about behaviors you want to change in the future (such as cutting down on chlorine bleach). You can read more and download the app here.


Notes for this week:

  • It's April - and that means spring cleaning!  You can use the free Detox Me app to make sure you are smart and healthy with your cleaning.
  • Our collective givetwig donation will sponsor important breast cancer prevention research.
  • For further information regarding Silent Spring Institute, please check out their website.

this week i'm gonna donate to Silent Spring Institute.

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