The Environmental Pendulum: A Quest for the Truth about Toxic Chemicals, Human Health, and Environmental Protection

Overview

The pendulum of environmental policy swings from one extreme to the other, depending on which camp is in power and who has the ear of the media. Underkill is followed by overkill. Concern breeds action; disillusion breeds reaction. The Environmental Pendulum provides a thoughtful and evenhanded assessment of this conflict.

Tens of thousands of sites across the country are contaminated with toxic chemicals. Environmentalists warn us that this legacy of carelessness is seriously ...

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Overview

The pendulum of environmental policy swings from one extreme to the other, depending on which camp is in power and who has the ear of the media. Underkill is followed by overkill. Concern breeds action; disillusion breeds reaction. The Environmental Pendulum provides a thoughtful and evenhanded assessment of this conflict.

Tens of thousands of sites across the country are contaminated with toxic chemicals. Environmentalists warn us that this legacy of carelessness is seriously affecting both human health and the ecological balance of nature. They point out that even improved industrial practices will not eliminate future chemical releases to the environment. Their demand for regulatory control has received wide public support and led to the passage of the Superfund legislation in 1980. Now, after twenty years, the value of the Superfund program is being challenged by corporate America, which argues that excessive cleanup costs have the potential to bankrupt the nation.

R. Allan Freeze outlines the difficulties associated with the management of hazardous waste and offers a balanced account of the controversy over the role of environmental contamination in human health. Freeze clarifies what matters and what doesn't with respect to chemical contaminants in the environment, arguing that environmental policies should be based on an accurate appraisal of the risks associated with these toxins. He concludes the book with a brilliant summation of the good news and the bad news of environmental pollution, describing what can and can't be done to bring the situation under control.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A hydrological engineer who has consulted on many projects in the US and Canada, Freeze argues that there are social costs involved with both overkill and underkill in environmental protection. There are unavoidable trade-offs between economic health and environmental health, he says, and it is not possible in a democratic society to sweep either one of them under the rug. Only developing and implementing a strong middle position will keep the pendulum from continuing to swing back and forth between extremes. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520220461
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 4/12/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 337
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

R. Allan Freeze is former Professor and Director in the Geological Engineering Program at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He is the coauthor of Groundwater (1979) and Groundwater Contamination: Optimal Capture and Containment (1993), and the coeditor of Physical Hydrogeology (1983).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
List of Tables
Acknowledgments
Prologue: A Day at Smithville 1
Ch. 1 The Polarization of the Environment 7
Ch. 2 Blenders and Buicks: The Environmental Consequences of Our Engineered Way of Life 48
Ch. 3 Environmental Contamination: What Matters and What Doesn't 94
Ch. 4 The Unpleasant Truths about Waste Management 147
Ch. 5 The Unpleasant Truths about Remediation 197
Ch. 6 The Regulatory Quagmire 221
Ch. 7 The Environmental Game 253
Ch. 8 Solutions 282
Sources 291
Index 311
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