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Northern Exposures: A Canadian Perspective on Occupational Health and Environment

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Overview

David Bennett is the retired National Director of Health, Safety and Environment of the Canadian Labour Congress and the Book Review Editor of the journal New Solutions. Northern Exposures is the result of thirty years of work in the labor movement on workplace health and safety and environmental protection. In the 1990s, the author had a central responsibility in moving the Canadian Labour Congress from its established work in health and safety into environmental protection, a story detailed in Northern Exposures. The book is a collection of published articles and reviews, linked by a new Introduction that shows the development of the thinking and actions of the Canadian labor movement in areas that were in constant flux. In health and safety and in environment, there was a major move away from remedial action and mitigation measures toward the new disciplines of prevention and their relation to sustainable development and green job creation. In both areas, there were impacts on the health disciplines of free trade agreements, risk analysis, and management systems, all of which are examined at length in Northern Exposures. The aim all along was not merely to respond to external pressures but to create an alternative vision and program that were coherent and well-articulated and also conducive to economic progress, green employment, cleaner technology, and healthy work. The scope of the book is wide ranging, including chemical policy regimes, cancer prevention, energy, resource and materials policy, and sustainable development.

Intended Audience: Public and social policy makers; health, safety, and environment representatives on workplace committees; labor historians; and industrial managers interested in how to reconcile the interests of workers with those of employers.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: 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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780895034014
  • Publisher: Baywood Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/1/2011
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

David Bennett holds an M.A. in history and philosophy from Cambridge University and Ph.D. in philosophy from McGill University. While working as a firefighter in England in 1972-77, he became a local union secretary and health and safety representative. From 1977 to 1979, he was an industrial tutor with the Workers' Educational Association (U.K.), specializing in health and safety, which was then emerging as a central area of union interest. He joined the Canadian Labour Congress in 1980, first in Education Program Development, writing union education courses, then as Health and Safety Representative, followed by the new position of Environment Representative. He became National Director of Health, Safety and Environment in 1993. After his retirement in 2006, he took on the job of Book Review Editor of New Solutions, a journal to which he has been a frequent Canadian contributor over the past fifteen years.

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Table of Contents

Preface

Acknowledgments

Introduction

PART I. THE CANADIAN LABOR MOVEMENT

Health and Safety at the Canadian Labour Congress

Chapter 1. The Right to Know about Chemical Hazards in Canada, 1982-2006

The Story of the Convergence

Chapter 2. Labour and the Environment at the Canadian Labour Congress—The Story of the Convergence

PART II. PREVENTION VERSUS CONTROL: EARLY MOVES

Chapter 3. Occupational Health: A Discipline Out of Focus

Chapter 4. Pesticide Reduction: A Case Study from Canada

PART III: POLLUTION PREVENTION IN OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT

Chapter 5. The Canadian Labour Congress' Pollution Prevention Strategy

Chapter 6. Prevention and Transition

PART IV: CANCER PREVENTION

Chapter 7. Cancer Battles and the Sleep of Reason: Review

Books About Cancer: Pragmatic Purpose, Profound Analysis: Reviews

Chapter 8. The Politics of Cancer Revisited: Review

Cancer-Gate: How to Win the Losing Cancer War: Review

Chapter 9. The Secret History of the War on Cancer: Review

PART V: FROM ENVIRONMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability: Materials Policy

Chapter 10. Industrial Materials: A Guidebook for the Future: Review

The Ecology of Commerce

Chapter 11. 'Natural Capitalism's' Bold Theory: Review

PART VI: INTERNATIONAL REGIMES IN HEALTH, SAFETY, AND ENVIRONMENT

Chapter 12. Beware ISO

Chapter 13.ISO and the WTO: A Report to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions' Working Party on Health, Safety, and Environment

Chapter 14. Health and Safety Management Systems: Liability or Asset?

Index

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