This book, named one of Booklist's Top 10 books on sustainability in 2014, is the first to offer a comprehensive examination of the environmental health movement, which unlike many parts of the environmental movement, focuses on ways toxic chemicals and other hazardous agents in the environment effect human health and well-being. Born in 1978 when Lois Gibbs organized her neighbors to protest the health effects of a toxic waste dump in Love Canal, New York, the movement has spread across the United States and throughout the world. By placing human health at the center of its environmental argument, this movement has achieved many victories in community mobilization and legislative reform. In The Rise of the U.S. Environmental Health Movement, environmental health expert Kate Davies describes the movement’s historical, ideological, and cultural roots and analyzes its strategies and successes.
Kate Davies has been active on environmental health issues for thirty-five years in the United States and Canada. She has worked with numerous nongovernmental and governmental organizations including Greenpeace, the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, the Institute for Children’s Environmental Health, the International Joint Commission and the Royal Society of Canada. She is currently core faculty at Antioch University Seattle’s Center for Creative Change and Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Washington.
Table of Contents
Introduction Environmental Health The US Environmental Health Movement Background This Book
Part 1: Historical and Cultural Roots Chapter 1: The European Ancestry of Environmental Health The Philosophy of Ancient Greece The Engineering Achievements of Rome The Spread of Judeo-Christian Religions The Scientific Revolution and the Nature of Science Social Justice and the Enlightenment The Environmental Health Consequences of the Industrial Revolution New Policies and Legislation Recognizing and Preventing Environmentally-Related Diseases
Chapter 2: Early Environmental Public Health The Environmental Health Consequences of the American Industrial Revolution Environmental Public Health Concerns Occupational Health: Working with the Urban Poor The Home as an Environment for Protecting Health The Progressive Era and Environmental Conservation The Origins of Urban Planning Preventing Environmentally-Transmitted Diseases
Chapter 3: Environmentalism and Economic Growth Post World War II Economic Growth and the Creation of a Consumer Society The Environmental Health Effects of Air Pollution The Environmental Health Effects of Water Pollution The Environmental Health Effects of Food Quality The Antinuclear Movement and the Precedents It Set New Ideas: Toxic Chemicals New Ideas: Deep Ecology and Social Ecology New Ideas: Population Growth and Resource Depletion The Rise of Environmentalism EPA and the Final Separation of Environmental and Public Health The Relationship Between the Environmental Movement and the Labor Movement The Toxic Substances Control Act and Other Environmental Legislation of the 1970s
Chapter 4: The Birth of the US Environmental Health Movement Love Canal and Its Aftermath The Beginnings of the Environmental Justice Movement The Role of Disasters in Building the Environmental Health Movement Struggles for Regional Environmental Health in the Great Lakes Winning the Battle Against Waste Incineration Opposition to Pesticides: An Ongoing Struggle Securing the Right to Know Toxics Use Reduction and Pollution Prevention: Limited Success The Lead Saga Newer Challenges: Endocrine Disruptors and Epigenetics
Part II: The Contemporary Movement Chapter 5: Organizations and Issues The Movement’s Strongest Asset: State and Local Groups The Roles of National Groups The Influence of European Toxics Policy The Louisville Charter The Emergence of National Coalitions Communications and Getting the Word Out The Importance of Women’s Organizations Alliances with Labor Organizations New Ways of Framing Environmental Health: Judeo-Christian Religions Beyond Toxics: Nanotechnology Beyond Toxics: Electromagnetic Fields Beyond Toxics: Fossil Fuels Beyond Toxics: Urban Planning and Green Building The Significance of Foundation Funding
Chapter 6: Making Environmental Issues Personal Gaining Support from People Affected by Environmentally-Related Disease Working with Caregivers - Nurses Working with Caregivers – Physicians Engaging the Health Care Sector Protecting Children’s Environmental Health Food, Glorious Food Opposing Toxics in Consumer Products And in Personal Care Products Pollution in People
Chapter 7: Precaution and the Limitations of Science The Impossibility of Proving Environmental Causation The Failure to Consider Ethics The Distortion and Cover-up of Scientific Information Problems with Risk Assessment Overview of Precaution The Ingredients of Precaution Progress on Precaution
Chapter 8: Environmental Justice and the Right to a Healthy Environment Perspectives on Environmental Justice Constitutional and Legal Rights to a Healthy Environment Scientific Information on Environmental Health Injustice in the US Environmental Justice Issues Community-Based Research Environmental Justice Strategies The US Environmental Justice and Environmental Health Movements
Chapter 9: Changing Economics, the Markets and Business The Cost of Environmental Illness Market Campaigns: Overview Market Campaigns: PVC Products and Packaging Market Campaigns: Electronics Market Campaigns: The Health Sector Green Chemistry and Safer Materials Socially Responsible Investing Partnerships with Business
Conclusion and Next Steps: Strategies for Social Change Strategies for Social Change Creating Inspiring Visions Minding the Gap between our Collective Aspirations and Reality Seeing the Forest and the Trees Identifying Leverage Points for Environmental Health Organizing More, Collective Action Telling Environmental Health Stories Self-Care Final Reflections
A Chronology of Key Events in US Environmental Health
The Rise of the US Environmental Health Movement is an ambitious book in the best sense of the word. Davies seeks to synthesize a tremendous amount of information, and to begin to write history as it is happening. She has made an invaluable contribution to all those who care – or should care – about what environmental contaminants are doing to us and to all life on earth.