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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: J. Thomas Pierce, MBBS PhD(Navy Environmental Health Center)
Description: This update of a book on environmental health includes its original assessment of environmental threats plus new and updated material addressing injuries, an amplification of the history of public health, and important contemporary controversies such as that surrounding bisphenol A.
Purpose: In keeping with the first edition, Dr Robert Friis emphasizes the importance of environmental health in terms of human health and development. The process has become even more inclusive as important challenges such as oil spills, climate change, lead in children's products, and pandemic influenza are addressed.
Audience: Clearly, the author began by writing a book that would be appropriate for an undergraduate public health education core, and this is a companion to his Epidemiology 101 (Jones & Bartlett, 2010). However, I believe that this book has a broader audience, and I would be completely comfortable designating it for graduate public health courses. Its treatment of issues is quite dynamic, a good characteristic for a reference. The author's writing style also is engaging and fair, qualities that tend to keep readers interested.
Features: The book is organized into three parts: background — the environment at risk, environmental epidemiology, environmental toxicology, and environmental policy; agents of environmental disease — zoonoses, toxic metals, pesticides and organics, and radiation; applications — water and air quality, food safety, solid and liquid wastes, and occupational health and injuries. There is also a brief glossary that is fun to read.
Assessment: The study questions in each chapter will keep students engaged in the dialogue. The figures, boxes, and exhibits are actually quite good. Each chapter has 35-60 references, a number that allows readers to see the breadth of the literature without being overwhelmed by it at first glance. Dr. Friis is rather masterful at knowing what to include in terms of figures and boxes. His experience at California State University, Long Beach and at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center there has provided him with overarching perspectives.