David Vail to discuss book on pesticides, aerial spraying, health

Chemical Lands Book CoverWHAT: Calvin T. Library Faculty Profile Series
BOOK DISCUSSION & SIGNING: “Chemical Lands: Pesticides, Aerial Spraying, and Health in North America’s Grasslands Since 1945.”
PRESENTER / AUTHOR: David Vail, UNK assistant professor of history

David Vail
David Vail

ABOUT THE BOOK: A distinctly regional view of agricultural health evolved after World War II. Vail’s analysis reveals a particularly strong ethic in the North American grasslands where practitioners sought to understand and deploy insecticides and herbicides by designing local scientific experiments, engineering more precise aircraft sprayers, developing more narrowly specific chemicals, and planting targeted test crops. This study provides a unique grasslands perspective of the ag pilots, weed scientists and farmers who struggled to navigate novel technologies for spray planes and in the development of new herbicides/insecticides while striving to manage and mitigate threats to human health and the environment.
HOSTED BY: Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society and Calvin T. Ryan Library
TIME / DATE: 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25
PLACE: Calvin T. Library
TICKETS: Free and open to the public
VAIL QUOTE: “The controversies in the 1960s and 1970s that swirled around indiscriminate use of agricultural chemicals – their long-term ecological harm versus food production benefits – were sparked and clarified by biologist Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” (1962),” Vail said. “This seminal publication challenged long-held assumptions concerning the industrial might of American agriculture while sounding an alarm for the damaging persistence of pesticides, especially chlorinated hydrocarbons such as DDT, in the larger environment.”


Writer: Todd Gottula, Director of Communications, 308.865.8454, gottulatm@unk.edu
Source: David Vail, UNK assistant professor of history, 308.865.8403, vaildd@unk.edu

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