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Environmental Chemistry in Society, Second Edition

James M. Beard
Publication Date:
June 20, 2013
Content Details:
409 pages | 3 illustrations

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  • About the Book

    Book Summary

    Everyone can benefit from having some understanding of environmental science and the chemistry underlying issues such as global warming, ozone depletion, energy sources, air pollution, water pollution, and waste disposal. Environmental Chemistry in Society, Second Edition presents environmental science to the non-science student, specifically focusing on environmental chemistry, yet requiring no background in chemistry. This book is a self-contained text, offering all the information necessary for readers to understand the topics discussed. It provides a foundation in science, chemistry, and toxicology, including the laws of thermodynamics, chemical bonding, and environmental toxins.

    This information then allows readers to delve into environmental topics, such as energy in society, air quality, global atmospheric concerns, water quality, and solid waste management. The arrangement of the book allows instructors flexibility in how they present the material, with the crucial topics being covered first. This second edition had been updated throughout and contains the following revisions:

    • Addition of a glossary of important terms
    • Extensive revision of the discussion questions at the end of each chapter to require more critical thinking skills
    • Updates to the environmental data
    • The division of the foundational chapter on chemistry into two chapters, so each one is more palatable
    • Coverage of fracking, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and the 2010 Gulf oil spill

    The book provides a qualitative approach, presenting the chemistry of the environment in such a way that students who have little or no science background can gain understanding and appreciation of this important subject.


      • Provides the science background needed to understand the book—no science or chemistry background required
      • Uses a story-telling approach that keeps the topics fresh and interesting
      • Contains a clear teaching strategy: background information is taught first and then it is applied to environmental problems—each chapter has a clear and distinct purpose
      • Presents a non-mathematical approach, allowing students who are uncomfortable with mathematics to understand the material
      • Covers most of the topics that are related to the chemistry of the environment
      • Includes a useful glossary and an updated solutions manual


      Praise for the First Edition

      This is just the text that my non-science major students needed. A qualitative approach to the chemistry behind many of our environmental issues today.
      —David R. Ownby, Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Environmental Science and Studies Program Towson University, Maryland, USA

       … the author has researched the subject in depth, made the science relevant and easily understood and then integrated it to make a very coherent and quite enjoyable read. … An excellent and thought-provoking presentation.
      —K. Jones, Chromatographia, 2010, 71

  • Contents

    Background to the Environmental Problem
    Preagricultural Development
    Horticulture and Agriculture
    Development of Towns and Cities
    Industrial Revolution, Phase I (Approximately 1760–1860)
    Industrial Revolution, Phase II (Approximately 1860–1950)
    Science and the Scientific Method
    Science and Technology
    Science and the Environment
    Environment and Public Policy

    The Natural Laws
    Early Development of Chemistry
    Lavoisier and the Law of Conservation of Matter
    Work and Energy
    First Law of Thermodynamics
    Second Law of Thermodynamics
    Matter, Energy, and the Environment

    Underlying Principles of Chemistry
    Atomic Theory
    Periodic Law
    Symbols, Formulas, and Equations
    Chemical Bonding

    Types of Chemical Compounds and Their Reactions
    Acids and Bases
    Precipitation Reactions
    Organic Chemistry
    Nuclear Chemistry

    Element Cycles
    Carbon Cycle
    Oxygen Cycle
    Hydrogen Cycle
    Nitrogen Cycle
    Phosphorus Cycle
    Sulfur Cycle
    Other Cycles

    History of Toxicology
    Environmental Toxicology
    Toxicity Measurements
    Routes of Exposure
    Classification of Toxins
    Respiratory Toxins
    Rates of Chemical Reactions, Catalysis, and Enzymes
    General Metabolic Toxins
    Endocrine Toxins
    Environmental Degradation of Toxins
    Environmental Movement of Toxins

    Energy and Modern Society
    Energy Sources
    Widely Used Energy Sources
    Nuclear Power
    Emerging Energy Sources
    Hydrogen as Fuel
    Energy Conservation

    Weather and Climate
    Atmosphere: Composition, Structure, and Dynamics
    Water Cycle

    Air Pollution
    Classical Air Pollution
    Industrial Smog
    Photochemical Smog
    Regionalization of Air Pollution
    Air Pollution and the Law
    Pollution Reduction

    Air Inside
    Some Background on Indoor Air Quality
    Classification of Indoor Air Contaminants
    Remedies for Indoor Air Contamination

    Global Atmospheric Change
    Gases as Insulators: Greenhouse Effect
    Global Warming: Concept
    Is Global Warming Important?
    Global Warming: Effects
    International Agreements on Global Warming
    Chemistry of the Stratosphere: Ozone Layer
    Importance of Ozone Layer
    Ozone Depletion and Chlorofluorocarbons
    National and International Response to Ozone Depletion

    Physical Properties of Water
    Water and Life
    Locations of Water
    Types of Water Use
    Freshwater Shortages
    Problems from Overuse of Groundwater
    Water Shortage Solutions

    Water Pollution
    Nature and Sources of Water Pollution
    Types of Water Pollutants
    Pollution of Surface Water
    Pollution of the Oceans
    Pollution of Groundwater
    Water Pollution Control

    Solid Wastes
    Sources of Solid Wastes
    Composition of Domestic Solid Waste
    Solid Waste Disposition

    Hazardous Wastes
    What Are Hazardous Wastes?
    Where Do Hazardous Wastes Come From?
    Historical and Traditional Approaches to Hazardous Waste Disposal
    Current Practices in Hazardous Waste Management
    Special Considerations for Radioactive Wastes