Recommended Books and Articles for Environmental Health and Justice

  1. Frank Ackerman and Lisa HeinzerlingPriceless: On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing (The New Press, NY, 2004)
    • Recommended by Joe Digangi—“This is one of the few books that caused me to immediately start reading over again from the beginning after I finished it.”
  2. Frank Ackerman—Poisoned for Pennies: The Economics of Toxics and Precaution (Island Press, 2008)
    • Recommended by Lin Kaatz Chary and Ann Blake
  3. Julian Agyeman and JoAnn Carmen—Environmental Inequalities Across Borders: Local Perspectives on Global Injustice (MIT Press, 2011)
    • Recommended by Rebecca Gasior Altman
    • “Something newer that tackles issues relevant to thinking about localities in the sweep of global problems and processes… Julian Agyeman and JoAnn Carmen have an edited volume that looks intriguing. Offers case studies that ‘illustrate how a globalized world is fundamentally altering the environmental justice terrain.”
    • From MIT Press: “the chapters demonstrate the spatial disconnect between global consumption and production on the one hand and local environmental quality and human rights on the other. The result is a rich perspective not only on the ways industries, governments, and consumption patterns may further entrench existing inequalities but also on how emerging networks and movements can foster institutional change and promote social equality and environmental justice.”
  4. Christopher J. Bosso—Pesticides and Politics: The Life Cycle of a Public Issue (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1988)
    • Recommended by Emily Marquez
  5. Taylor Branch—Parting The Waters: American in the King Years 1954-1963 (Simon and Schuster, 1988.)
    • Recommended by Judy Robinson—“This is a recommendation a bit different than the others you have listed, about the underpinnings of EJ for American Blacks and about how you organize and build a movement.”
  6. Phil Brown—Toxic Exposures: Contested Illnesses and the Environmental Health Movement (Columbia University Press, 2007)
  7. Robert Bullard—Environmental Health and Racial Equity in the United States: Building Environmentally Just, Sustainable, and Livable Communities (APHA Press, 2011)
    • Recommended by Emily Marquez and Pam Miller
  8. Center for Public Integrity—Congress and the People: Unreasonable Risk (The politics of Pesticides (Center for Public Integrity, 1998)
    • Recommended by Emily Marquez
  9. Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and J. Peterson Myers—Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertiity, Intelligence, and Survival—A Scientific Detective Story (Penguin Books, 1997)
  10. Luke Cole and Sheila Foster—From the Ground Up: Environmental Racism and the Rise of the Environmental Justice Movement (New York University Press, 2001).
    • Recommended by Rebecca Gasior Altman
  11. Marla Cone—Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic (Grove Press, 2005)
  12. Katherine Davies—The Rise of the US Environmental Health Movement (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013).
    • “In the book, I trace the movement’s historical, cultural and ideological roots and analyze its strategies and successes. To write it, I talked with many movement leaders/participants and did quite a bit of research.”  For more information:
  13. Devra Davis—The Secret History of the War on Cancer (Basic Books of Perseus Books Group, 2007)
  14. Devra Davis—When Smoke Ran Like Water (Basic Books of Perseus Books Group, 2002)
    • Recommended by Ann Blake and Jeannie Economos
  15. Michael R. Edelstein—Contaminated Communities: Coping With Residential Toxic Exposure (Westview Press, 2004)
    • Recommended by Jamie Silberberger
  16. Samuel Epstein—The Politics of Cancer Revisited (East Ridge, 1998)
  17. Samuel Epstein—National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society: Criminal Indifference to Cancer Prevention and Conflicts of Interest (Xlibris Corporation, 2011)
    • Recommended by Lin Kaatz Chary
  18. Anne FadimanThe Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2012)
    • Recommended by Lin Kaatz Chary —“I can’t recommend this enough, especially for an understanding of working with a different culture.”
  19. Lois Gibbs—Love Canal: My Story (SUNY Press 1982) and Love Canal: The Story Continues (New Society Press, 1998)
    • Recommended by Mike Schade
  20. Robert Gottlieb—Forcing the Spring: The Transformation of the American Environmental Movement (Island Press, 2005)
    • Offers expansive, but readable overview of environmental (in)justice within the broader environmental, social justice and indigenous rights movements.  What I think is important and useful about this text is that it places the long, hard fought struggle for environmental health and justice as beginning long before many texts acknowledge, and instead places the roots of the struggle for safe, just and healthy communities and worksites both during (and even predating the Industrial Revolution. Also discusses the signifance and intertwined movements for civil rights and indigenous sovereignty, including the struggle for justice against environmental conservation movement and the displacement of indigenous peoples to create the National Park System.
    • Recommended by Rebecca Gasior Altman
  21. Elizabeth Grossman—Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and the Promise of Green Chemistry (Island Press, 2009)
    • Recommended by Lin Kaatz Chary
  22. Paul Hawken—Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World (Penguin Press, 2007)
    • Recommended by Carl Smith —“This one might give a good perspective on the value of partners from the NGO side.”
    • Here’s a description: “Paul Hawken has spent more than a decade researching organizations dedicated to restoring the environment and fostering social justice. From billion-dollar nonprofits to single-person dot.causes, these groups collectively comprise the largest movement on earth, a movement that has no name, leader, or location and that has gone largely ignored by politicians and the media.
    • “Blessed Unrest explores the diversity of the movement, its brilliant ideas, innovative strategies, and centuries of hidden history. A culmination of Hawken’s many years of leadership in the environmental and social justice fields, it will inspire all who despair of the world’s fate, and its conclusions will surprise even those within the movement itself.”
    • Other recommended books by Paul Hawkens:
      • Paul Hawkens – “Ecology of Commerce”…”could be a good one to help cultivate a viewpoint that it’s not bad economics to protect the environment.
      • Paul Hawkens – Natural Capitalism,” which he wrote with Hunter and Amory Lovins.”
  23. Ross Hume HallHealth and the Global Environment (Polity Press, 1990)
    • Recommended by Lin Kaatz Chary —“out of print but probably available used on line – a great discussion of the public health model versus the medical model and the precautionary principle.”
  24. Winona LaDuke—All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life (South End Press, 1999)
  25. Steve Lerner—Diamond: A Struggle for Environmental Justice in Louisiana’s Chemical Corridor (MIT Press, 2004)
    • Recommended by Mike Schade
  26. Steve Lerner—Sacrifice Zones: The Front Line of Toxic Chemical Exposure in the U.S. (MIT Press, 2010)
    • Recommended by Pam Miller
  27. Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner—Denial and Deceit: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution (University of California Press, 2002)
    • Recommended by Mike Schade, Jeannie Economos, Emily Marquez
  28. David Michaels—Doubt is Their Product: How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health (Oxford University Press, 2008)
    • Recommended by Diane Heminway, Jen Sass, Jeannie Economos and Mandy Hawes
    • Diane Heminway—“I think that this book would make her question everything she ever believed about risk assessment.”
    • Jen Sass—“Actually, if she reads only one book, make it that one! I have it within arms reach at all times, and use it extensively. They also have a blog called The Pump Handle that many Congressional staffers follow, as well as professional public health folks:”
    • Mandy Hawes—“Please add “Doubt is their Product” by David Michaels  (now head of fed OSHA). Dr. Michaels is an epidemiologist and his book details the tireless efforts of chemical manufacturers and their consultants to discount sound evidence of human health damage from chemical exposure – labeling it “junk science” that should be disregarded not just by courts and regulators but also of course by anyone trying to make informed decisions and choices for herself and her family her community and her co-workers.”
  29. William McDonough and Michael Braunbart—Cradle to Cradle: Rethinking the Way We Make Things (North Point Press, 2002)
    • Recommended by Carl Smith —“That would be an important one, I think. More than most books, it lays out a roadmap for how things can be done differently. Be nice to have more folks in government with the viewpoint that “less bad” is not the right goal.”
  30. Nancy Myers and Carolyn Raffensperger—Precautionary Tools for Reshaping Environmental Policy (MIT Press, 2006)
  31. Mary O’Brien—Making Better Decisions: An Alternative to Risk Assessment (MIT Press 2000)
    • Recommended by Rebecca Gasior Altman —“And then some broader context on risk assessment, and alternative frameworks, e.g., alternatives assessment and cumulative impacts.”
    • “For the past quarter-century, government and the private sector have relied heavily on risk assessment for making decisions, allowing widespread environmental deterioration. In this book, Mary O’Brien recommends a simple yet profound shift to another decision-making technique: “alternatives assessment.” Instead of asking how much of a hazardous activity is safe (which translates into how much damage the environment can tolerate), alternatives assessment asks how we can avoid or minimize damage while achieving society’s goals. Alternatives assessment is a simple, commonsense alternative to risk assessment. It is based on the premise that it is not acceptable to damage human and nonhuman health or the environment if there are reasonable alternatives.”
    • Rebecca also recommends: “Also, you may find this website–a treasure trove of resources on cumulative impacts, cumulative risk assessment—of great value. A joint project of the Collaborative on Health and the Environment and the Science and Environmental Health Network (full disclaimer: on whose Board of Directors I serve).”
  32. Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway—Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming (Bloomsbury Press, 2010)
    • Recommended by Emily Marquez
  33. Carolyn Raffensperger (Editor), Joel Tickner (Editor)—Protecting Public Health and the Environment: Implementing the Precautionary Principle (Island Press, 1999)
    • Recommended by Lin Kaatz Chary
  34. J. Timmons Roberts & Melissa M. Toffolon-Weiss—Chronicles From the Environmental Justice Frontline (Cambridge University Press, 2001)
    • Recommended by Jamie Silberberger
  35. Phillip and Alice Shabecoff—Poisoned Profits: The Toxic Assault on Our Children (Random House, 2008)
  36. Mark Schapiro—Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What’s At Stake for American Power (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2007)
  37. Ted Schettler, Gina Solomon, Maria Valenti, and Annette Huddle—Generations At Risk: Reproductive Health and the Environment (MIT Press, 2000)
  38. John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton—Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry (2002)
    • Recommended by Paul Orum —“It covers PR industry practices in general, some of which covers environment.”
  39. Sandra Steingraber—Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment (De Capo Press, Perseus Books Group, 2010)
  40. Sandra Steingraber—Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood (Perseus Publishing, 2001)
  41. Sandra Steingraber—Raising Elijah: Protecting Our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis (De Capo Press, Perseus Books Group, 2011).
  42. Joe Thornton—Pandora’s Poison: Chlorine, Health, and a New Environmental Strategy (MIT Press, 2000)
    • Recommended by Mike Schade
  43. Carol van Strum—A Bitter Fog: Herbicides and Human Rights (Random House, 1983)
    • Recommended by Ann Blake —[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][this book is] about the spraying of 2,4-D in Oregon’s forests and fairly early, the book that got me into this work.”
  44. Sarah Vogel—Is It Safe?: BPA and the Struggle to Define the Safety of Chemicals (2012, University of California Press)
    • Sarah—“And a little shameless promotion: The book asks the question: how did we all become a little plastic?  From the 1950s to the present, I uncover how science and political power shape conflicts and decisions over the risks and safety of chemicals that make up the modern world.”
  45. Florence Williams—Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History (WW Norton, 2012)
    • Recommended by Nancy Buermeyer —“And we here at the Breast Cancer Fund are partial to [the book Breasts]”
    • “A new book looking at the history and science of breasts from an environmental health perspective. And it’s a really good read.”
  46. Diane Wilson—An Unreasonable Woman: A True Story of Shrimpers, Politicos, Polluters, and the Fight for Seadrift Texas (Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2005)
    • Recommended by Mike Schade

Also, the following additional articles are recommended by Judy Hatcher and Ted Schettler:

  1. Dorceta Taylor—Race, Class, Gender and American Environmentalism
    • Recommended by Judy Hatcher —which is an excellent historical overview of the underpinnings of environmental injustice.
  2. Mike Belliveau—The Drive for a Safer Chemicals Policy in the United States (published in New Solutions, Volume 21(3):359-286, 2011)
    • Recommended by Ted Schettler —“Mike Belliveau’s recent paper is an example, where he looks at the history of chemical regulation, is important.” 
  3. Peter Montague’s Rachel’s Haz Waste etc….  and his links.  It’s truly a historical perspective as well.”


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