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In 1962 Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring challenged the world to reevaluate the use and disposal of manmade chemicals. The initial reaction to this classic book was outrage by industry, bewilderment from government, and deep concern on the part of the general public. In the intervening years, attitudes of outrage and bewilderment have disappeared and a growing concern for protecting the environment has emerged among all factions of our society. Accompanying this concern has been an ever increasing trend towards cooperation and responsible action by involved parties. Fundamental to this trend is an awareness of potential hazard posed by manmade chemicals to the environment and agreement on measures which must be taken to avert deterioration of the environment.
Laboratory testing of new chemicals on selected biota has become the primary means for evaluating the potential threat of chemicals to the environment. Although the amount of plant testing has been minimal in the past, it is almost certain that more plant testing will be conducted in the future in an effort to curtail and avoid the decline of plant life in threatened habitats. Thus, it is very timely to examine plant tests in current use in an effort to ascertain if they are economically and scientifically sound and whether or not the laboratory data from these tests are being interpreted accurately for the purpose of environmental protection.
vascular plants, phytotoxicity, toxicity testing
University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK