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Principles of Environmental Toxicology.

This book is published as part of a series of Professional Reference Books by the American Chemical Society and is intended to reach an audience of university students and professionals working in related fields. It is skillfully written and easy to read with well delineated short sections. The author has included many recent historical examples of environmental contamination to sustain the reader's interest and promote understanding of the principles.

The introductory chapter gives an historical perspective on environmental deterioration and comments on the current precarious state of the planet. The next four chapters review the fundamentals of toxicology, including the dose-response relationship, metabolism of xenobiotics, toxicity testing, variations in individual responses and chemical carcinogenesis. These chapters give a succinct overview of toxicology, particularly from a biochemical perspective without going into a great detail on the underlying biology. For example, the mechanism by which a chemical carcinogen interacts with DNA is carefully explained with the extensive use of diagrams. But there is little description of the consequences of this interaction, such as alteration of the DNA sequence in an oncogene or a tumour suppressor gene. The book is clearly targeted for an audience with a chemical rather than biological background.

The middle chapters focus on air, water and soil pollution, technologies to control pollution and radioactivity as an environmental contaminant. These topics are very well covered and make interesting reading. The only notable omission is discussion of the recent change in regulatory direction from pollution control to pollution prevention. The final two chapters are on occupational toxicology and regulatory policies. The former is limited in scope but, to be fair, is not the focus of this book, but rather an add-on to round it out. The chapter on regulatory policies gives an excellent overview of American laws but also explains general principles which are applicable to Canadian jurisdictions too.

This book is a useful addition to the bookshelves of chemists, engineers and environmental consultants. It succeeds as a portable reference book because of its scope and accessible presentation style.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Chemical Institute of Canada
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Goldberg, Mark
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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