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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: J. Thomas Pierce, MBBS PhD(Navy Environmental Health Center)
Description: This book covers the terminology used in environmental health; the sources of chemical and physical agents in the environment; how they disperse and transform throughout the environment; their effects on environmental quality and human health; how levels and exposures are quantified; how standards are established; how levels, exposures, and risks can be controlled; and what technological opportunities and trends are likely to influence our environmental future. This book is a broad, in-depth introduction to a scientific field that is becoming more central to human health. It succeeds an earlier edition with a slightly different title (1979).
Purpose: The authors' major objectives include providing the reader with a technical background needed to intelligently evaluate the scientific issues. Their book is intended to allow readers to develop informed judgments regarding a broad array of environmental contamination issues.
Audience: The audience is clearly identified as graduate students in environmental health sciences. This is an appropriate book for this level and will likely find its way into more and less experienced practitioners' hands. The qualifications of the authors are largely unmatched in similar books; they are recognized experts, particularly in air pollution.
Features: The authors freely acknowledge multiple topics of interest for a book concerned with environmental health science. They apply their group's advanced knowledge of air pollution hazards to air, water, soil, and solid waste matrices. The book is subtitled "Recognition, Evaluation and Control of Chemical and Physical Health Hazards" which indicates their conceptual basis as borrowed from industrial hygiene. While some would argue for different priorities, I believe the capstone chapters on risk assessment and management have effectively integrated important topics and matrices. Each chapter contains 10-20 pertinent references, while the supplementary bibliography includes one or two major references for broad subject headings such as aerosol technology or toxicology. The index is more than adequate.
Assessment: Given its 500 pages, this book probably covers as much of environmental health science as is reasonable. It will find its place among more extensive treatises as well as less scholarly references. The authors have remained true to their preface credo of "avoiding the tendency to present attractive hypotheses or assumptions as proven facts." They have also avoided the deadly dullness of supporting regulations without unnecessarily over-simplifying matters. I found a sense of professional renewal in the environmental health discipline while perusing the 15 chapters.