Synopses & Reviews
In When Smoke Ran Like Water, the world-renowned epidemiologist Devra Davis confronts the public triumphs and private failures of her lifelong battle against environmental pollution. By turns impassioned and analytic, she documents the shocking toll of a public-health disaster--300,000 deaths a year in the U.S. and Europe from the effects of pollution--and asks why we remain silent. She shows how environmental toxins contribute to a broad spectrum of human diseases, including breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, asthma, and emphysema--all major killers--and in addition how these toxins affect the health and development of the heart and lungs, and even alter human reproductive capacity.But the battle against pollution is not just scientific. For Davis, it's personal: pollution is what killed many in her family and forced the others, survivors of the 1948 smog emergency in Donora, Pennsylvania, to live out their lives with damaged health. She vividly describes that episode and also makes startling revelations about how the deaths from the London smog of 1952 were falsely attributed to influenza; how the oil companies and auto manufacturers fought for decades to keep lead in gasoline, while knowing it caused brain damage; behind-the-scenes accounts of the battle to recognize breast cancer as a major killer; and many other battles. When Smoke Ran Like Water makes a devastating case that our approaches to public health need to change.
"Davis captures our imaginations and makes us think differently about the environment and health."
Andrew Weil, M.D.
From one of the leading public-health experts of our time, a passionate call to arms to protect ourselves from environmental pollution--and an astonishing revelation of how it's already affected our health
About the Author
Devra Davis, Ph.D., M.P.H., is the Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and Professor of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health. She was appointed by President Clinton to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board in 1994 and also served as Scholar in Residence at the National Academy of Science. She works in Pittsburgh, and lives in Washington, D.C. She is married to Richard D. Morgenstern and has two children and two grandchildren.