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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: J. Thomas Pierce, MBBS PhD(Navy Environmental Health Center)
Description: The subtitle of this book, A Canadian Perspective on Occupational Health and Environment, really sums up its thrust.
Purpose: The author recounts the Canadian experience in occupational health and environmental protection for the era of 1970-2010 or so. There is a slight time shift in that the occupational health record in Canada dates from 1970s legislation, whereas the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) is enacted later, in 1988.
Audience: I would envision this being of interest to a wide range of interdisciplinary scientists and physicians, including those in occupational and environmental fields, public policy, and internal medicine.
Features: The first of six parts describes labor's involvement in development of health and safety regulation. Part II distinguishes various preventive and control strategies, the latter becoming the substance of Part III. Part IV concerns cancer, and part V deals with the emergence of sustainability. Part VI describes the reach of Canadian labor in terms of international bodies.
Assessment: The book reflects a strong pro-labor point of view regarding worker protection and environmental damage. I have no problem with this, since any biases are clearly identified and appropriately referenced. A reasonable example appears in chapter 7 (Cancer Battles) on the way forward in looking at important causes of cancer. Understanding the difficulties surrounding the newness of information, incompleteness of studies, and their overall relevance and resonance among experts is critical. Public policy implications of studies formulated by highly trained epidemiologists and carcinogeneticists are important to a broader panel of individuals that could include office workers, utility lineman, and even children. The author's enduring contributions are worthy of a read that will lead to a better understanding of conflicting science.