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Hardcover | $64.00 Short | £53.95 | 456 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 19 figures | May 2015 | ISBN: 9780262012522
Paperback | $32.00 Short | £26.95 | 456 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 19 figures | June 2015 | ISBN: 9780262512060
eBook | $22.00 Short | June 2015 | ISBN: 9780262327008
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Chemicals without Harm

Policies for a Sustainable World


Today, there are thousands of synthetic chemicals used to make our clothing, cosmetics, household products, electronic devices, even our children’s toys. Many of these chemicals help us live longer and more comfortable lives, but some of these highly useful chemicals are also persistent, toxic, and dangerous to our health and the environment. For fifty years, the conventional approach to hazardous chemicals has focused on regulation, barriers, and protection. In Chemicals without Harm, Ken Geiser proposes a different strategy, based on developing and adopting safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals rather than focusing exclusively on controlling them.

Geiser reviews past government policies focused on controlling chemicals, describes government initiatives outside the United States that have begun to implement a more sustainable chemical policy, and offers an overview of the chemicals industry and market. He develops a safer chemicals policy framework that includes processes for characterizing, classifying, and prioritizing chemicals; generating and using new chemical information; and promoting transitions to safer chemicals.

The shift in strategy described by Geiser will require broad changes in science, the chemicals economy, and government policy. Geiser shows that it is already beginning, identifying an emerging movement of scientists, corporate managers, environmental activists, and government leaders who are fashioning a new, twenty-first-century approach to chemicals.

About the Author

Ken Geiser is Professor Emeritus of Work Environment at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Founder and past Codirector of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, and the author of Materials Matter: Toward a Sustainable Materials Policy. One of the authors of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act, he was Director of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute for thirteen years.


“Geiser has gathered a wealth of information and applies it to the problem at hand in an imaginative way: offering a framework for how to reorient a hazardous and resource-intensive industry toward safety and sustainability. It is an impressive contribution—and a call to action.”—Science


“Ken Geiser has done it again. Chemicals without Harm weaves together the disparate literatures and perspectives on chemical policy into a comprehensive, systematic whole, considering—among other things—law and policy, business history, economics, and environmental science. Written with a clarity that makes it accessible to all, and a depth of understanding that makes it essential reading for academics, business people, advocates, and policymakers alike.”
Timothy Malloy, UCLA School of Law and Fielding School of Public Health
“Pragmatic, ambitious, comprehensive, and humane, here is a systematic yet visionary blueprint for bringing smart politics together with good science to create tomorrow’s clean economy.”
Daniel Sarewitz, Codirector and Cofounder, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, and Professor, Science and Society, Arizona State University
“This book provides a forward-looking blueprint for the modernization of our chemicals policy that is urgently needed to address emerging products, materials, and production processes based on nanotechnology and synthetic biology.”
David Rejeski, Director, Science and Technology Innovation Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; coeditor of Environmentalism and the Technologies of Tomorrow