Environmental Hazards: Toxic Waste and Hazardous Material.
Written by two Pennsylvania State University professors, the book places the environmental and public health dangers of such substances in a public policy framework. It features a complete annotated bibliography of books in the field as well as an extensive list of articles, government documents, videocassettes and organizations. A chapter describing federal and selected state laws and regulations is also useful.
The authors trace the history of environmental legislation and chronicle the fundamental laws that established the nation's system for managing hazardous materials. Special attention is given to hazardous waste cleanup and the Superfund legislation, also known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA). This discussion yields a pertinent perspective as Congress debates the reauthorization of and possible changes to this landmark legislation.
The bulk of the handbook covers the topic in an objective, descriptive manner. A brief "Perspective" section, however, gives the authors' opinion on the ethical dimensions of managing toxic materials and the assessment of risk to human health and the environment.
They assert, "As a fundamental premise it must be recognized that a [hazardous materials management] policy cannot be guided by the philosophy that no risk is valid. Any policy will entail risks of some harm to the environment and individuals at some future time. A policy for the protection of health must be based on a method of assessing systematic risks so as to prevent the environment and human beings from experiencing basic harm deemed unjustifiable."
Legislators must assess various policy options by weighing the information provided by risk assessment and the evaluation technology. Sorting out such challenges is assisted by the solid work found in this handbook.
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|Author:||Reed, James B.|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Nov 1, 1993|
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