No Safe Place: Toxic Waste, Leukemia and Community Action

No Safe Place: Toxic Waste, Leukemia and Community Action


By (author) Phil Brown, By (author) Edwin J. Mikkelsen, Foreword by Jonathan Harr, Preface by Phil Brown


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  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Format: Paperback | 284 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 224mm x 23mm | 408g
  • Publication date: 10 October 1997
  • Publication City/Country: Berkerley
  • ISBN 10: 0520212487
  • ISBN 13: 9780520212480
  • Edition statement: Revised ed.
  • Illustrations note: maps
  • Sales rank: 1,661,892

Product description

Toxic waste, contaminated water, cancer clusters--these phrases suggest deception and irresponsibility. But more significantly, they are watchwords for a growing struggle between communities, corporations, and government. In No Safe Place, sociologists, public policy professionals, and activists will learn how residents of Woburn, Massachusetts discovered a childhood leukemia cluster and eventually sued two corporate giants. Their story gives rise to questions important to any concerned citizen: What kind of government regulatory action can control pollution? Just how effective can the recent upsurge of popular participation in science and technology be? Phil Brown, a medical sociologist, and Edwin Mikkelsen, psychiatric consultant to the plaintiffs, look at the Woburn experience in light of similar cases, such as Love Canal, in order to show that toxic waste contamination reveals fundamental flaws in the corporate, governmental, and scientific spheres. The authors strike a humane, constructive note amidst chilling odds, advocating extensive lay involvement based on the Woburn model of civic action. Finally, they propose a safe policy for toxic wastes and governmental/corporate responsibility. Woburn, the authors predict, will become a code word for environmental struggles.

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Author information

Phil Brown is Professor of Sociology at Brown University and Lecturer in Sociology, Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry. Edwin J. Mikkelsen is Director of the Division of Child Psychiatry at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center and Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry.

Review quote

"This is a book for people living near toxic waste dumps who are mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore."--Andrew H. Malcolm, "New York Times Book Review

Table of contents

Foreward, by Jonathan Harr Preface (1997) Preface (1990) Acknowledgments Introduction Town in Turmoil: History and Significance of the Woburn Cluster The Formation of an Organized Community The Sickness Caused by "Corporate America": Effects of the Woburn Cluster Taking Control: Popular Epidemiology Making It Safe: Securing Future Health Bibliography