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Despite being characterized as 'one of the worst agricultural accidents in Britain in the 1960s', the 'Smarden incident' has never been subjected to a complete historical analysis. In 1963, a toxic waste spill in Kent coincided with the publication of the British edition of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. This essay argues that these events combined to 'galvanize' nascent toxic and environmental consciousness. A seemingly parochial toxic waste incident became part of a national phenomenon. Thedoi:10.1098/rsnr.2016.0040 fatcat:v2xejebhvzcxdnd4gzct32bl4a