Life Support brings together the best medical information available on the implications for human health of the global environmental crisis. Written by prominent physicians and public health experts who see environmental degradation as a serious threat to public health, it provides essential information for health professionals, policymakers, concerned citizens, and environmental activists. The book, which is a sequel to the 1993 Critical Condition, covers a broad range of topics, including air and water pollution, population and consumption, climate change, ozone depletion, ultraviolet radiation, biodiversity loss, habitat destruction, war, and vulnerable populations (workers and children). It also discusses such controversial topics as environmental endocrine disruption and risk assessment. The focus is on solutions. Each chapter ends with specific recommendations for actions to solve particular environmental health problems. Underlying the book are three major themes: that the habitat is an important determinant of human health, that prevention of human illness must involve protection of the environment, and that well-informed physicians can and should communicate with the public and policymakers about environmental hazards.
For the first time in human history we are altering the basic physiology of the planet, yet until now there has been no single source that summarizes the medical consequences of this environmental crisis for human beings. Critical Condition provides a comprehensive, easy-to-follow review of this most critical and yet most negelected subject in the environmental debate. It brings together the best medical information available about global environmental degradation, including the effects on human health of war and military preparation, global warming, ozone depletion, species extinction, and loss of biodiversity—matters that are generally not addressed in the literature of environmental health.
Underlying these contributions are three major themes: that the habitat is an important determinant of human health, that prevention of human illness must involve protection of the environment and preservation of ecosystems, and that well-informed physicians can and should communicate with the public and policy makers about environmental hazards.
Eric Chivian, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Psychiatrist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was a co-founder of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, recipient of the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize. Michael McCally is Lecturer in Medicine at the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago. Howard Hu is Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Andrew Haines is Professor and Head of the Department of Primary Health Care at University College London Medical School.