Evolution in a Toxic World

Paperback - May 2012 - AU $39.99

A groundbreaking approach to understanding toxics and health.

With BPA in baby bottles, mercury in fish, and lead in computer monitors, the world has become a toxic place. But as Emily Monosson demonstrates in her groundbreaking new book, it has always been toxic. When oxygen first developed in Earth’s atmosphere, it threatened the very existence of life: now we literally can’t live without it. According to Monosson, examining how life adapted to such early threats can teach us a great deal about today’s (and tomorrows) most dangerous contaminants. While the study of evolution has advanced many other sciences, from conservation biology to medicine, the field of toxicology has yet to embrace this critical approach. + Full description

In Evolution in a Toxic World, Monosson seeks to change that. She traces the development of life’s defence systems—the mechanisms that transform, excrete, and stow away potentially harmful chemicals—from more than three billion years ago to today. Beginning with our earliest ancestors' response to ultraviolet radiation, Monosson explores the evolution of chemical defences such as antioxidants, metal binding proteins, detoxification, and cell death.

As we alter the world’s chemistry, these defences often become overwhelmed faster than our bodies can adapt. But studying how our complex internal defence network currently operates, and how it came to be that way, may allow us to predict how it will react to novel and existing chemicals. This understanding could lead to not only better management and preventative measures, but possibly treatment of current diseases. Development of that knowledge starts with this pioneering book.

- Short description

Details

Paperback | May 2012 | $ 39.99
ISBN: 9781597269773 | 264 pages
Publisher: Island Press, USA
Illustrations

Authors

Emily Monosson is an environmental toxicologist, writer, and consultant. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Associate Editor of the Encyclopedia of Earth, and the author of several books. She lives in Montague, Massachusetts.