Academic journal article Teaching Science

The Secret Life of Chemicals: A Guide to the Chemicals in Our Environment and How to Protect Yourself

Academic journal article Teaching Science

The Secret Life of Chemicals: A Guide to the Chemicals in Our Environment and How to Protect Yourself

Article excerpt

Professor Alfred Poulos, 270 pp. $30 (inc. postage Aust.) from alfredpoulos@gmail.com

Reviewed by Emeritus Professor Peter J Fensham

For almost 45 years, chemistry teachers in Australia have been greatly assisted by Ben Selinger's book, Chemistry in the Market Place (now Selinger & Barrow). In its many editions, it has provided teachers with information about an expanding list of the chemicals that each of us encounter in our daily lives at home, work and play.

Now Alfred Poulos has produced a similarly informative book about a number of classes of chemicals that now pervade modern industrial society.

In the first half of the book, the chapters deal with particular groups of chemicals--'The Plastic Revolution', 'Toxic Metals', 'The Indestructibles', 'Air Pollutants', 'Chemicals from Paper Manufacture and Use', 'Chemical Exposure in the Workplace', 'Fluorocarbons', and 'Radiation Pollutants'. For each of these types of chemicals, there is a description of the chemical nature, their preparation, and the role they play in modern society. Then their possible impact on human beings is outlined and what, if any, safeguards regulating their use exist. Each chapter has references to recent international published research studies or reports, and the book is well indexed.

The second half of the book begins with a chapter titled 'How do our Bodies deal with Chemicals? …

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