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Occupational industrial and environmental toxicology, 2nd edition
  1. J Ayres

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    Editor in Chief: Michael I Greenburg (pp 829, £65.00), 2003. London: Mosby. ISBN 0323013406

    This is the second edition of a book which first appeared some seven years ago, to which has been added a number of new chapters. The format is standard for each chapter, starting with a description of the occupation, the likely toxicological exposures, sometimes broken down by specific areas, health effects, and a section on remediation. The book is aimed at the practising physician rather than the specialist in the field and although there is plenty of information here for the former, the latter, I think, is more likely to turn to more advanced sources of information.

    My initial reaction to it was one of attraction. The use of archival photographs is interesting and intriguing, although one has to say that this significantly lengthens the book because of the generous use of space and, therefore, presumably ups the price (although at £65 for over 800 pages this is not an expensive volume). And better numeration of the photographs throughout the book would have made reading easier. As far as content is concerned, some of the chapters have achieved their targets well—for instance the chapter on dry cleaners gives a balanced view of the workplace hazards before moving on to the toxicology and health outcomes. The chapter on commercial fishing is a very useful review of the numerous hazards of fishing. In other chapters the progressive approach does not work so well, such as that on painters, which is rather brief. Contributions on rectification are variable and if the physician turning to this book wants to find ways of remediating particular exposures, then on many occasions they will find themselves frustrated. I left this book in our departmental coffee room and asked for comments from anyone who felt inclined to put forward an opinion. Overall their feelings matched mine that while this was a useful source of information we would more probably turn to more detailed volumes.

    There are a number of minor points which also tend to frustrate. For the British non-occupational physician there are a number of Americanisms (for example, using joiners for solderers) which might confuse. The spine on my copy had started to disintegrate within two weeks of arrival. The layout of references at times is generous of space; in one chapter (that on painters), they are incorrectly numbered. Despite these carps I am quite pleased to have it on my bookshelf as an additional source for some areas, but it is not a book I would have gone out and bought myself. I would also be happy to point our undergraduate and Master’s students in its direction (although perhaps not to buy for themselves).

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