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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: J. Thomas Pierce, MBBS PhD(Navy Environmental Health Center)
Description: Sponsored by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, this is the third edition of a comprehensive, practical guide to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of occupationally related disorders. Organized in four sections, the book encompasses the milieu of practice, an organ system approach to occupational diseases, various evaluation techniques and relevant environmental issues. Read together, the four sections address technical and practical issues as well as preventive strategies for illness and injury reduction.
Purpose: The third edition has been updated to include contemporaneous treatments of important issues such as occupational ophthalmology, the use of molecular genetics and the implications of the Human Genome project, and even bioterrorism defense strategies. Objectively, this will allow a new or even an experienced reader to balance emerging issues with familiar topics like workers' compensation or occupational lung disease. In my view, the book has acquired increasing importance to occupational and environmental medicine practitioners, and even those working in allied fields such as industrial hygiene or epidemiology. The authors have also attempted to more accurately define their emerging role and scope of relevant practice. The role and scope exercise is perhaps the most difficult.
Audience: This book's overview of technical issues, practical applications, and preventive strategies for illness and injury related to the workplace is applicable to seasoned practitioners and those being introduced to occupational and environmental medicine. Because of its association with certain continuing education activities, the third edition is suitable for board-certified physicians as well. The 60 authors are recognized experts belonging to the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and allied groups.
Features: This edition emphasizes preventive approaches, with new chapters providing expanded coverage of environmentally-induced allergies and asthma. Not only the editors, but a short list of well-qualified physicians from a publications committee, have obviously labored hard to provide balance among quite dissimilar chapters. A comprehensive index seems quite usable for the student of occupational and environmental medicine.
Assessment: Given the eight-year span since this book's last edition, a 2003 publication date is an good choice. This book will find its place on shelves along with other accepted references in the field. Given the breadth of the discipline that supports its generation, I believe it will be extensively used. The balance between evidence-based approaches and success or case studies will continue to be revisited. There are strong advocates for both approaches. Some chapters would likely be better served through the addition of authors with a somewhat different point of view.