Hazardous Substances coverHazardous Substances: a Reference.

Submitter: I was weeding the reference section and found this shining example of 80’s eco-report books.  It defines every toxic substance known in 1986–but that’s it.  Hope you have your Tyvek suit handy!

Holly: Snore!  Why do these books have to be so boring?  Hazardous substances are dangerous and exciting!  Ok, it’s a dictionary, so excitement is limited, but couldn’t they at least add some pictures?

In any case, in addition to covering lots of materials dangerous to the environment, it also talks about notorious hazardous substance disasters.  Oops…Chernobyl happened in 1986, the Exxon Valdez oil spill was in 1989, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill was in 2010, and Fukushima was just a few months ago. These are glaring omissions on the subject of hazardous substances.  Plus, lots of new manufacturing processes have been invented since 1986 that come with their own hazardous materials and bi-products.  This book is ok for a primer on the subject if you have nothing else.  It’s probably not wrong information, just incomplete.


Hazardous Substances back cover



  1. Actually, it probably is wrong information, too. How many carcinogens do you think we’ve discovered in the past 25 years?

  2. This is a reference book. It’s meant to be consulted like a dictionary, not read straight through like a novel. That’s why it’s “boring.” It’s used in occupational settings by those who work with these materials.

    The “standards” cited for each substance may be out of date, but the basic information is still sound. Hydrogen fluoride is still highly corrosive. Hydrocarbons are still the principal constituents of petroleum products.

    But much of this information can be found online now, with more recent updates on the standards:

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