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But Is It True?: A Citizen's Guide to Environmental Health and Safety Issues

By: Aaron Wildavsky

574 pages, Figs, tabs

Harvard University Press

Paperback | Dec 1997 | #65497 | ISBN: 0674089235
Temporarily out of stock: order now to get this when available Details
NHBS Price: £40.95 $50/€46 approx
Hardback | Dec 1996 | #41707 | ISBN: 0674089227
Out of Print Details

About this book

Discusses the rival claims of environmentalists and industrialists.

Global warming. Acid rain. Ozone holes. Just how much are we really at risk? This careful analysis of the evidence concludes that aside from ozone depletion, claims of imminent catastrophe are 'mostly false, unproven, or negligible.' New York Times Book Review But Is It True? is a guided tour de force of most of the American and global environmental causes celebres since 'The Great Cranberry Scare' of 1959...It exemplifies the wit and vigor that have characterized [Wildavsky's] previous work. It exemplifies his passion for truth. -- John Adams Nature The book...offers a wealth of clearly written information on past and current environmental science controversies, and it is a godsend to those who teach environmental policy classes. The book also makes a clear and compelling case for challenging conventional wisdom about the environmental perils that appear to surround us. -- Hank C. Jenkins American Political Science Review Survey[s] a Hit Parade of great eco-scares...This is an exhaustive attempt to show how journalists and environmentalists have whipped up hysteria about these great nondangers to the public's health. -- Max Boot Wall Street Journal Published posthumously, this book presents in a simplified, concise manner scientific findings related to environmental and safety issues of general concern...Wildavsky follows issues such as Love Canal, Agent Orange, PCBs, and Alar from initial findings through media hype to resulting governmental regulation. He invites citizens to evaluate the facts and his conclusions regarding the exaggeration of danger. Wildavsky's hope is that citizens will apply similar factual consideration to other issues as they arise...Recommended. -- Judith L. Lesso Library Journal The author offers a sociology of scientific knowledge in the United States and how the independent findings of non-governmental organizations influenced processes of decision-making concerning environmental issues. In this purpose, Wildavsky starts with very concrete and knowledgeable case-studies and develops later on to more general conclusions about the relationship between science and citizenship. This collective enterprise is a well-researched manual for environmentalists. Moreover, it offers a compendium of strategies to assess the risk of harmful substances and to prevent the detriment of health...Wildavsky's last book is an excellent, differentiated and well-documented tool to make democracy more accountable and, at the same time, thrilling. -- Jose M. Magone Political Studies [UK] The measure of the importance of Wildavsky's work on risk is that nobody involved in environmental and health risk issues can afford to ignore it, least of all the environmentalists he is likely to infuriate. here, as ever, Aaron Wildavsky is iconoclastic, provocative, insightful, engaging and engaged. -- John S. Dryzek Journal of Public Policy


Introduction - toward a citizen's understanding of science and technology. Part 1 Were the early scare justified by the evidence?, cranberries, dieldrin, saccharin; the Cranberry scare of 1959; "silent spring" and dieldrin; the saccharin debate. Part 2 PCBs and DDT - too much of a good thing?: which regulations governing PCB residues are justified?; is DDT a chemical of ill repute?. Part 3 Dioxin, agent orange, and times beach. Part 4 Love canal - was there evidence of harm?. Part 5 Superfund's abandoned hazardous waste sites. Part 6 No runs, no hits, all errors - the asbestos and alar scares: is asbestos in schoolrooms hazardous to students' health?; does alar on apples cause cancer in children?. Part 7 Does science matter?: is arsenic in drinking water harmful to our health?; whom can you trust? the nitrate contoversy. Part 8 Do rodents predict cancer in human beings?. Part 9 The effects of acid rain on the United States (with an excursion to Europe). Part 10 CFCs and oxone depletion - are they as bad as people think?. Part 11 Who's on first?, a gobal warming scorecard. Part 12 Reporting environmental science. Part 13 Citizenship in science. Part 14 Detecting errors in environmental and safety studies. Conclusion - rejecting the precautionary principle.

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The late Aaron Wildavsky, was Class of 1940 Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

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