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.
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).
"The Environmental Pendulum provides a needed overview of the last 25 years of hazardous waste management. The approach is even-handed and readable for health professionals, engineers, and the public."—James R. Hunt, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Berkeley
"Technology has presented humankind with many dilemmas, but none is more challenging than pollution of the environment by toxic chemicals, the subject of The Environmental Pendulum. The potential impact on humans is high, ranging through toxicity, cancer, developmental birth defects, and mutation of eggs and sperm. Every attempt is made to draw the reader, whether professional or lay person, into the dilemma. And this is as it must be, for the dilemma will not disappear.The Environmental Pendulum will provide just the kind of balanced information that every thinking citizen needs to make the tough decisions needed right now and in the future."—Anthony J. F. Griffiths, Professor of Botany, University of British Columbia