There are hundreds of books available on the topic of environmental health. Below are some of my favorites.
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General Environmental Toxins Books
Count Down reveals what Dr. Shanna Swan and other researchers have learned about how chemical exposures are affecting our fertility, sexual development—even, perhaps, gender identity—and general health. Not just an illuminating overview of a grave threat but a helpful guide to protecting against it, Count Down is an urgent wake-up call, an enjoyable read, and a vital tool for understanding our future.
The Chemical Age tells the captivating story of the scientists who waged war on famine and disease with chemistry. Frank A. von Hippel explores humanity’s uneasy coexistence with pests, and how their existence, and the battles to exterminate them, have shaped our modern world. This is a fascinating read that offers some deep historical context for our use of toxic chemicals in today’s age.
Written by former Minnesota assistant attorney general and a former senior policy analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists, Barbara Freese, this book explores 8 different stories of corporate denial, rationalizing, and victim-blaming from the slave-trade to climate change. A powerful read to understand corporate responsibility-denial tactics.
This book offers a comprehensive look at environmental exposures and is written in a clear, easy-to-understand language that based on robust scientific evidence. It covers all the basics of policy and common exposures (and more!) and has resources, tools, tear-off sheets, recipes, and practical, cost-effective tips to help reduce exposures.
This incredible book by Robert Bilott, the lawyer who spent 2 decades fighting with DuPont about the PFAS chemicals they were polluting local communities with, is a must read! If you want to know the depths of corporate greed and corruption, this book is for you.
Leonardo Trasande MD MPP, a leading voice in public health policy and top environmental medicine scientist reveals the alarming truth about how hormone-disrupting chemicals are affecting our daily lives–and what we can do to protect ourselves and fight back.
Easily one of the most readable books on environmental toxins. It takes a slightly humorous and very real-world look at what we’re exposed to daily.
It’s Not Easy Being Green shows you that living sustainably and healthfully isn’t as complicated as you may think. You’ll discover the importance of educating yourself and making changes in your life to protect your health and the health of your family and the planet.
This book explores the strong connection between autoimmune disease and environmental toxin exposures, and is a must read for health practitioners.
Bruce Blumberg coined the term ‘obesogen’ back in 2006; since then it’s become part of the lexicon in the field of environmental health. This book explores the role that chemicals play in rising rates of metabolic disease.
This is the follow up to Slow Death By Rubber Duck, and seeks to answer the #1 question generated from that book: “How do I get this stuff out of me?”
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, a naturopathic physician, and founding president of Bastyr University refers to environmental chemicals as “the primary driver of disease.” This book explores this problem and the daily lifestyle interventions to help us detoxify.
Want to know that dark and lurid history of how fluoride ended up in our drinking water? Read this book. Exceptionally well written, heavily cited, and filled with more than you could ever want to know about this substance, including it’s ties to the Manhattan Project. Fascinating & disturbing.
One of my most dog-eared books that explores the role that chemicals play in metabolic diseases like insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity, and helps to explain why our population keeps gaining weight.
Want to know how to solve most of the problems about toxic chemicals in our environment? It starts with Green Chemistry, a small, but growing movement to ensure that newly synthesized compounds aren’t toxic to humans, animals, or the broader ecosystems.
This book explores the links between chemicals in our environment and rising rates of Autism. Published in 2012 with the finding that 1 in 88 children were diagnosed with Autism, this book provides a solid foundation of why that number is now 1 in 68 and in some places 1 in 42.
One of the first books on toxins I read. Published back in 2007 (a little outdated by now, but still worth reading), this book explores the beauty industry, the ingredients they use, and the rampant greenwashing and pinkwashing they employ.
This book is a must read for those in the environmental health space, written by the late Theo Colburn, who spent her career studying endocrine disruption. Our Stolen Future examines the ways that certain synthetic chemicals interfere with hormonal messages involved in the control of growth and development, especially in the fetus.
Published in 1962, this book is credited with launching the environmental movement as we know it. This is a must read book to put into perspective how long we’ve been aware of toxic chemicals in our environment and their health effects.
One of my absolute favorite book that explores the public policy around chemicals in commerce, how those policies differ between the US and the EU, and why many multinational companies lean on our legal system to shied them from responsibility. This one will fire you up and piss you off at the same time!
While this book is not directly related to environmental toxins, it’s a super interesting (and frustrating) look at how pharmaceuticals make it to the market, and the maneuvering and manipulation of the pharma industry.
In “There’s Something In The Water”, Ingrid R. G. Waldron examines the legacy of environmental racism and its health impacts in Indigenous and Black communities in Canada, using Nova Scotia as a case study, and the grassroots resistance activities by Indigenous and Black communities against the pollution and poisoning of their communities.
In A Terrible Thing To Waste, Harriet Washington explains how environmental racism – a confluence of racism and other institutional factors that relegate marginalized communities to living and working near sites of toxic waste, pollution, and insufficient sanitation services – explains the African American-white IQ gap.
From the Ground Up critically examines one of the fastest growing social movements in the United States, the movement for environmental justice. The authors effectively use social, economic and legal analysis to illustrate the historical and contemporary causes for environmental racism.
Clean and White offers a history of environmental racism in the United States focusing on constructions of race and hygiene. Carl A. Zimring draws on historical evidence from statesmen, scholars, sanitarians, novelists, activists, advertisements, and the United States Census of Population to reveal changing constructions of environmental racism.
Lead Wars explores one of the most contentious battles in the history of public health; systemic lead poisoning. It also highlights the highly unethical research conducted by the Kennedy Krieger Institute on Black children living in low-income housing.
Toxic Communities examines the connections among residential segregation, zoning, and exposure to environmental hazards. Renowned environmental sociologist Dorceta Taylor focuses on the locations of hazardous facilities in low-income and minority communities and shows how they have been dumped on, contaminated and exposed.
This book includes chapters written by by 26 of the top researchers and academics in the field of environmental health. Not necessarily for those just dipping their toes in the water of environmental health; this book is not written for the lay-person, but rather for those in the field.⠀
This comprehensive textbook is a priceless resource and reference book for those wanting a deep understanding of the issues related to environmental toxin exposure. Co-authored by the late and great Walter Crinnion – a personal hero of mine.