Child Health and the Environment

By Goldman, Lynn R. | Environmental Health Perspectives, October 2003 | Go to article overview

Child Health and the Environment


Goldman, Lynn R., Environmental Health Perspectives


By Donald T. Wigle

Oxford:Oxford University Press, 2003. 396 pp. ISBN: 0-19-513559-8, $55 cloth.

It is amazing how many books are now available for the new field of pediatric environmental health. For health practitioners, the American Academy of Pediatrics Handbook of Pediatric Environmental Health (second edition in press) is available, as is Children's Environmental Health, published by the American public Health Association (2000) A "how-to" manual for families by Landrigan et al., Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World (2002), is now in its second edition. The World Health Organization has provided a report on global aspects, Children in the New Millennium (2003). There are many books on policy aspects, some for advocates--Wargo's Our Children's Toxic Legacy (1998) and Schettler et al.'s Generations at Risk (2000)--and others conveying contrary views--Juberg's Are Children More Vulnerable to Environmental Chemicals? (2002). So, do we need Wigle's new book? Resoundingly, yes!

This concise volume is jam-packed with information. Its broad coverage includes epidemiology, toxicology, medicine, exposure assessment, and risk management. Organized logically and evidence-based, each chapter systematically covers health effects, exposures, risk management, and conclusions. Gene--environment interactions are well integrated. Issues of risk assessment and precaution are woven together well. The expert presentations on the epidemiology of hazards and exposures are exceptional; these are nicely buttressed by well-written, but less thorough, presentations of the toxicology and environmental literature. This well-written book is filled with nuggets that hold the interest of the reader and includes useful summary tables and an excellent index. For each hazard, Wigle presents his conclusions about the state of the science. Wigle maintains a wonderful website (http://www.mclaughlincentre.ca/) that includes expanded bibliographies for each chapter and extensive updates of many of the epidemiology summaries.

The book addresses chemical, biologic, and physical agents regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA; lead and other metals, polychlorinated biphenyls/dioxins, pesticides, hormonally active agents, and radiation) as well as certain major exposure pathways (indoor air, outdoor air, and water). …

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