'The unfolding arsenic tragedy in Bangladesh and India compels far greater attention from the international community than it currently receives. Venomous Earth provides a fascinating account both of the historical role of arsenic in our lives, and the horrific impact of what has been called the largest mass poisoning of a population in history.' - Jonathon Porritt, Forum for the Future'Andrew Meharg weaves stories of alchemy and toxic cosmetics, early health and safety law and the wallpaper of William Morris into an interesting and concisely told narrative...' - New Scientist'Meharg's coverage of arsenic in wallpapers is fascinating, especially his consideration of the great William Morris, whose obsession with only using plant dyes in later years covered up a past of making heavy use of arsenic greens without ever admitting to it. The book continues to be fascinating as it penetrates the quack medicinal use of arsenic and its gradual convergence with arsenic's infamous poisoning role on an understanding of this deadly element...well worth reading.' - Brian Clegg, www.popularscience.co.uk
'...one of the best books on arsenic one can read, beautifully compiling the science and history of arsenic.' - Ritu Gupta, Down To Earth Magazine'This is a book that makes the scientific issues underlying a major human tragedy accessible to the average reader.' - The Hindu'Andrew Meharg is good on the technological and political challenges of testing water for safe levels, when it isn't too clear what a safe level would be. He is terrific on the wider history of arsenic, in alchemy, industry and interior decorating.' - Tim Radford, The Guardian'There is much here to fascinate a general audience.' - Nature'Arsenic is an old favorite with the poisoner. It's colorless, odorless-and deadly. But as Meharg, a scientist, makes clear, its worst effects have been unintended. Boreholes sunk in the 1970s to provide clean water in Bangladesh have tapped into groundwater tainted by naturally occurring arsenic. The result, according to the World Health Organization, may be the 'largest mass poisoning in history, with 35 million people at risk from cancers. As casualties of ignorance, they join a long list. Meharg tells the lively - and cautionary - story of arsenic's misuse over the centuries, whether as a component in quack medicines or to produce the vivid green dye favored by the Victorians.' - Newsweek'Meharg's explanations of the processes by which arsenic ends up concentrating in water-bearing strata are fascinating. He argues for preventive action so arsenic poisoning doesn't become more widespread. His warning is of great importance. It needs to be heeded.' - Chemical and Engineering News'A highly recommended pick for both health and public library holdings. An important survey.' - Midwest Book Review'A very erudite, colourful and fascinating account of the history of arsenic and its uses. An excellent buy: it is not only as readable as Simon Singh's The Code Book or Dava Sobel's Longitude, but it will also help raise awareness of an important problem that it is within our gift to do something about.' - Mineralogical Magazine'This is an excellent treatment of a broad and complex topic, an outstanding piece of scholarship translated into popular science. This book should be read by all environment professionals academics and students. It is an excellent illustration of how to flesh out the bones of scientific fact by integrating it with a wider perception of human existence. Go out and buy it.' - Journal of Environmental Quality'There is much to praise in a book that will hopefully stimulate greater awareness of this tragedy.' - Chemistry World 'An accessible book on a complex and intractab
About the Author
ANDREW MEHARG is Professor of Biogeochemistry at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland where he studies and teaches on the impact of pollutants on the environment. His particular interest is how arsenic interacts with plants, animals and humans. In this capacity he has advised national and international government and aid bodies. Andrew has published numerous academic papers, book chapters and popular press articles on his research.