George Larrick is Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, charged with overseeing food safety. Once on the FDA vanguard, he is now near retirement.
Be sure to review Chaps. 2-4, 7, 11-14 in Silent Spring (and other mentions of the U.S. FDA noted in the index). You should be able to comment especially on food safety and related health issues. Discuss the relevance of the recent "cranberry scare" of 1959 involving the weed-killer, aminotriazole (also in Index), and of the adverse effects of the drug thalidomide, recently in the news.
See Larrick's comments (as well as those by Arnold Laymond and Luther Terry) on CBS Reports. "Rachel Carson's Silent Spring." [audio recording]. See Guide.
Consider the book by Whorton.
on thalidomide, see: D. Hamilton, "A Brief History of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research," Washington, DC: FDA History Office (1997). URL: www.fda.gov/cder/about/history/Page31.htm
See brief FDA biography, indicating a bit of personality:
Some recent scientific literature [for advanced level]:
Durham, W.F. et al. 1961. "Insecticide content of diet and body fat of Alaskan Natives." Science No. 3493: 1880-1881.
Gaines, T.B. 1962. "Poisoning by organic phosphorus pesticides potentiated by pehnothiazine derivaties." Science No.3546: 1260-1261.
Matteis, F.D. et al. 1961. "Nervous and biochemical disturbances following hexachlorobenzene intoxication." Nature No. 4786: 363-366.