About Us

Silent Spring Institute is staffed and led by researchers dedicated to science that serves the public interest.

We partner with physicians, public health and community advocates and other scientists to identify and break the links between environmental chemicals and women’s health, especially breast cancer.

Our groundbreaking studies have opened new doors to the health risks associated with toxics where we live and work – areas that have been ignored in cancer research. The Institute’s pioneering community-based approach to research has transformed the traditional dynamic between “scientist” and “subject” so both are working side-by-side to uncover findings that can help save lives and stop people from getting sick in the first place.

The Institute’s research agenda is defined by these important priorities:

  • Focus on the environment, an under-studied area that can lead to the discovery of preventable causes of cancer, particularly in communities with higher risk;
  • Make women’s health, especially breast cancer, a central rather than peripheral research priority;
  • Support innovation, including new research methods and pilot studies to test new hypotheses;
  • Foster multidisciplinary teams of researchers to integrate their strengths;
  • Foster true collaboration among scientists, physicians, and community members.

Silent Spring Institute began 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 founded “a laboratory of their own” and named it Silent Spring Institute in tribute to Rachel Carson, whose landmark book, Silent Spring, launched the modern environmental movement. Carson died of breast cancer just two years after the book was published.