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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Karl K Rozman, Ph.D.(University of Kansas Medical Center)
Description: This is a comprehensive book about chemicals and their toxicity as we encounter them in our daily lives in the workplace or, usually in lower concentrations, in the environment. The book is logically organized, grouping individual compounds according to structural similarities or other common characteristics that enable it to emphasize commonalities as well as distinctions.
Purpose: As envisioned originally by Patty and now by Bingham and Cohrssen, the six volumes provide information, mostly on chemicals produced by the carload, for health professionals with the purpose of protecting primarily workers' health and, more generally, the public's health. The objectives were worthwhile when the book first appeared in 1948 and remain acutely relevant in an ever-more health conscious society.
Audience: This is intended primarily as a resource for all types of health professionals who are entrusted with protecting workers' health or the public's health. This includes industrial hygienists, toxicologists, occupational and environmental physicians, and more.
Features: The six volumes cover an essentially complete list of chemicals (and other incidentals) produced by industry. The book contains all the essentials (structure, chemical formula, physical properties, etc.) needed for rapid orientation of health professionals on a subject without requiring them to consult other sources. The conversion tables in the front pages of each volume are particularly useful as health professionals are confronted all the time with information expressed in various metrics. The black-and-white print is entirely adequate for this topic and this audience. Some areas are covered in truly outstanding manner, like the chapters on acetone or PCBs and many others, too many to mention in a brief review. As is unavoidable in a multiauthored volume, there are a few dated chapters, which could be improved in future editions by replacing the authors.
Assessment: Under various titles through the years, Patty's Toxicology is one of the most comprehensive resource books for health professionals for the purpose of improving quality of life and it represents an invaluable aid in decision making related to public health.