When Smoke Ran Like Water
Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution
Devra Lee Davis, N.Y.: Basic Books, 2002. ISBN 0-465-01521-1
Many BCAM members will remember Devra Lee Davis as our guest at the second round of the panel discussion, "Breast Cancer and the Environmental Connection: Best Guesses" (1994). At that time, she was Senior Advisor for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. Now she is the director of the Health, Environment and Development Program at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C., as well as a Presidential appointee of the National Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.
And she has written a book — a book being touted as a shoo-in for the Non-Fiction category of the National Book Awards. The president of the Climate Institute has commented that it is "simply the best book on the environment since Silent Spring."
According to Publishers Weekly, "Davis brings to the fore the long-lasting effects of growing up and living in a polluted atmosphere" and offers "an enlightening, engrossing read which should be on the shelf of anyone who cares about the environment and wants to learn more about policy, health and politics." Well-known Canadian journalist, Brian McKenna, finds Davis's writing "elegant, hard-hitting, breathtaking," and predicts that the book will "set the New York Times charts on fire."
One aspect of her book is a discussion of why so many studies of breast cancer have failed to find a connection with pesticides (Chapter 6: The New Sisterhood of Breast Cancer). Because the task of finding evidence connecting environmental exposures to breast cancer is so complex, Davis believes that this question will probably not be solved in our lifetimes. Her book is in the BCAM office and is available on loan to members. You can find more valuable information in her commentary on 'Breast Cancer and the Environment' on the World Resources Institute website.
Janine O'Leary Cobb