The Alchemy of Disease: How Chemicals and Toxins Cause Cancer and Other Illnesses

John Whysner (Author)

Product Details

Columbia University Press
Publish Date
June 02, 2020
6.3 X 9.1 X 1.3 inches | 1.35 pounds

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About the Author

John Whysner was formerly an associate clinical professor of environmental health sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. A board-certified toxicologist, he has consulted for the International Agency for Research on Cancer and federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and was director of biomedical research for the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention, Executive Office of the President.


The field of toxicology has become increasingly sophisticated as our knowledge of biology continues to evolve. As a scientist, it is enjoyable to read how John Whysner presents the information, and I have no doubt that the general public and students will find it equally enjoyable and informative.--Samuel M. Cohen, Havlik-Wall Professor of Oncology, University of Nebraska Medical Center
I often tell students in the biological sciences that the best way to learn about a topic is not just to learn what knowledge has been discovered, but rather how the discoveries were made. Whysner's scholarly yet reader-friendly book reads like a series of fascinating stories derived from his lifetime of experience in the world of toxicology and public health, and what a storyteller he is! The book shows him to be a remarkable science historian as each link between chemical exposures and human diseases is placed in a captivating historical context. The extent to which Whysner has been intimately involved in major discoveries is absolutely mind-boggling.--Joseph H. Graziano, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Whysner's book is a valuable addition to the history of toxicology and allied fields, as it benefits from the institutional knowledge of a professional working in the field of toxicology for five decades. The author brings to light technical aspects of the science that some may not be aware of, especially concepts of risk assessment, dose response, and links between cancer rates and the reality of the state of the science. --Dale A. Stirling, Consultant in Environmental & Public Health History and author of The Nanotechnology Revolution: A Global Bibliographic Perspective and A Bibliographic Guide to North American Industry: History, Health & Hazardous Waste
Whysner provides an honest evaluation of the science of toxicology, engaging readers with fascinating, well-paced narratives of subjects such as chronic arsenic poisoning.--Katherine Watson, Oxford Brookes University