Life Support

Life Support

The Environment and Human Health

Edited by Michael McCally

A solutions-oriented examination of the connections between environmental degradation and human health.





A solutions-oriented examination of the connections between environmental degradation and human health.

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.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262134149 328 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 13 b&w illus.


$9.99 T | £7.99 ISBN: 9780262632577 328 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 13 b&w illus.


Michael McCally

Michael McCally is Lecturer in Medicine at the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago.


  • ...presents the evidence that humans, through our own actions, now threaten the global environment that we all need to survive.

    James E. Cone, M.D.


  • This book does much to focus attention on some immediate threats to ecosystem and human health, an excellent reference.

    Joseph Grzymski

    Nature Medicine


  • In Life Support, Michael McCally and his colleagues provide a superb and authoritative road map for the emerging environmental health movement. the issues dealt with are the most pressing issues of our time. We need true scientists to provie direction, and McCally has assembled their best and most authoritative judgments here.

    Michael Lerner

    President, Commonweal

  • In Life Support, Michael McCally and 26 medical colleagues shine a spotlight on the often neglected but crucial connections between human and environmental health. Addressing topics as diverse as air and water pollution, climate change, cancer, emergent diseases, and the impacts of warfare, these experts show the multiple dimensions in which a healthy environment supports human well-being—our life-support system indeed. This book should be required reading for both medical professionals and environmentalists.

    Anne H. Ehrlich

    Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University

  • Life Support presents the most pervasive and challenging environmental health problems of our times. The blend of cross-cutting concepts such as the precautionary principle, risk assessment, vulnerability, and equity, with the persistent and emerging global health threats of climate change, transboundary pollution, and biodiversity loss gives the book its uniqueness. Taken as a whole, it offers a starkly realistic view of the state of our world upon which our health depends, and offers a guidepost for achieving solutions.

    Jonathan Patz

    Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health