Environmental Chemistry in Society  book cover
2nd Edition

Environmental Chemistry in Society

ISBN 9781439892671
Published June 20, 2013 by CRC Press
410 Pages 3 Color & 106 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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.

Table of 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


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James M. Beard, Ph.D., earned a BA in chemistry from Manchester College (now Manchester University) in 1965 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Stanford University in 1969. After two years of teaching chemistry at Manchester College, he pursued a career as a clinical chemist. During the next 12 years, Dr. Beard worked as a product developer, quality control consultant, and administrator in both hospital and industry settings. Since 1988, Dr. Beard has been a member of the faculty at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina, where he is a professor of chemistry. Dr. Beard’s major interest at Catawba has been in environmental chemical education.

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Author - James  Beard

James Beard

Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Catawba College
Salisbury, North Carolina, USA

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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