THE OZONE CONTROVERSY by Lydia & Harold Schiff Dotto


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The last word on spray cans, SSTs, the space shuttle, and other potential threats to the ozone layer which shields humanity from harmful ultraviolet radiation. One cannot fault the clear writing, the meticulous research, and the air of authority (Schiff is an atmospheric scientist privy to much of the debate and decision-making, and Dotto is a science writer for the Toronto Globe & Mail). But such a muchness. No scientific paper or meeting, no Congressional hearing, press conference, press release, news story or editorial, trade magazine ad or promotion has gone unnoticed and undiscussed. As a result a certain weariness overtakes the reader. We soon grasp the great contentiousness among scientists. Atmospheric turf is apparently well marked. The weather people have nought to do with the stratospheric types (higher up) or the aeronomers (still higher). Those who understand the chemistry of catalytic chain reactions are vastly ignorant of atmosphere dynamics and vice versa. The airlines, Boeing, the can and chemical corporations, DuPont, Congress, NASA, scientific groups and individuals, not to mention England, France, and Russia, all have vested interests. In the end Truth, relatively speaking, outs. The SST danger--glossed over in a misleading summary of a major scientific report--turns out to be not as sinister as first thought. On the other hand, the ozone-eating fluorocarbons released by your favorite drug or cosmetic spray cans must go, and go they will, according to FDA edict, by 1979. Schiff and Dotto deal with an enormous cast of characters and frequently come up with a graphic picture or quotable quote. But much as one applauds the authors' intentions, values their insights, and welcomes their warning, more restraint would have made for a better book.

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday