Environmental Health Ethics

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Environmental Health Ethics illuminates the conflicts between protecting the environment and promoting human health. In this study, David B. Resnik develops a method for making ethical decisions on environmental health issues. He applies this method to various issues, including pesticide use, antibiotic resistance, nutrition policy, vegetarianism, urban development, occupational safety, disaster preparedness, and global climate change. Resnik provides readers with the scientific and technical background necessary to understand these issues. He explains that environmental health controversies cannot simply be reduced to humanity versus environment and explores the ways in which human values and concerns – health, economic development, rights, and justice – interact with environmental protection.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Resnik has written a wonderful introduction to the field of environmental health ethics. He supplies a wealth of information about the key ethical issues in the field, as well as the science that underlies those issues. Moreover, he proposes a set of ethical principles – including both human-focused and environment-focused considerations – for addressing ethical questions related to environmental health.”
– Kevin C. Elliott, Department of Philosophy, University of South Carolina

“Environmental Health Ethics is an invaluable instructional text that provides a unique intersection between ethics and environmental health by an author who has mastery of both fields. I cannot think of a better book that applies ethics to public health and is informed by the best literature in both fields. In his exceptionally lucid analysis, Resnik applies Aristotle’s ‘Doctrine of the Mean’ to applied ethical problems in environmental health by avoiding excess and deficiency in working out ethical dilemmas. The book covers a wide landscape of issues, opens them up to rational discourse, weighs alternative values, and leaves room for democratic process and personal autonomy.”
– Sheldon Krimsky, Tufts University

“Resnik’s book is a comprehensive, eminently readable overview of one of the most important policy issues of our time. A must-read.”
– Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Ph.D., O’Neill Family Endowed Professor, Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame

"...Environmental Health Ethics will be most obviously useful for teaching, especially as an instructional text for public health workers, scientists, and policymakers engaged in making environmental health decisions.... Resnik’s book is far more than a specialized text: Resnik makes a vital contribution to bioethics proper. This is the first book by a bioethicist to focus specifically on environmental health ethics. As such, it serves as a potent reminder that bioethics has largely failed to include explicit consideration of the broad ecological systems within which health care is provided and on which people depend for their well-being. Environmental Health Ethics should be required reading for all working bioethicists, as well as new generations of bioethics students, who need to understand the interconnections between human well-being and protection of the environment and who can learn from Resnik’s careful approach to the issues."
—Jessica Pierce, Independent Researcher, The American Journal of Bioethics

"This thought-provoking book covers a wide range of environmental and health challenges, examining each from various ethical perspectives, linking one to another, and drawing cautious conclusions about what is "acceptable.".... Resnik follows, somewhat anticlimactically, with excellent chapters on environmental justice and human research, and a brief concluding chapter. This book would be valuable reading for a wide audience including environmental policy makers and those who influence them.... Highly recommended..."
—M. Gochfeld, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, CHOICE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781107023956
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/2012
  • Pages: 325
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

David B. Resnik, JD, PhD, is Bioethicist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health. Dr Resnik additionally holds the positions of Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at North Carolina State University and Associate Editor of Accountability in Research. He has written eight books and numerous articles on ethical, philosophical and legal issues in science, medicine and technology. He is also Chair of the NIEHS Institutional Review Board, which oversees and reviews research projects that include human participants.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction; 2. An overview of environmental health; 3. Ethical theory; 4. Toward an environmental health ethics; 5. Pest control; 6. Genetic engineering, food, and nutrition; 7. Pollution and waste; 8. The built environment; 9. Climate change, energy, and population; 10. Justice and environmental health; 11. Environmental research involving human participants; 12. Conclusion.

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