Environmental forensics

Environmental forensics

R E Hester and R M Harrison

Cambridge, UK: RSC Publishing 2008 | 175pp | ?100.00 (HB) ISBN 9783906390505

Reviewed by Paul Kneller 

The latest in the series Issues in Environmental Science & Technology  is Environmental forensics  - a discipline which is increasing in the UK but has very few books to support its wide-ranging field. This book should therefore be a welcome addition. Intended both for updating information for the specialist and for general interest, could this be a useful starter for undergraduates? 



Many successful prosecutions for water pollution have depended on chemical analysis

It is written, as stated, by some of the leading experts in their fields, which is both a blessing and a drawback. The range of topics runs from legislative frameworks through microbial techniques to stable isotope analyses - and as often happens, some of the authors expect a deal of prior knowledge. In addition to that, the style of each chapter is completely different.  

However this is a very useful book which gives an excellent position statement on the application of the techniques and of their limitations in environmental forensics. A required purchase, I am sure, for all institutional libraries where these sorts of activities take place.  

There are particularly fine chapters on stable isotopes, the perchlorate and chlorinated solvent problems and a good concluding chapter entitled Groundwater pollution: the emerging role of environmental forensics 

So in conclusion, a good but slightly eclectic collection of papers written by people in the know, rather than a complete overview of environmental forensics. 

Finally, a small plea to editors of this type of book: can we have a glossary to help the confused and forgetful?