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Course Catalog

180.601.81 Environmental Health

Environmental Health and Engineering
3rd term
5 credits
Academic Year:
2017 - 2018
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Joseph Bressler
Course Instructor:

Introduction to Online Learning; college courses in general biology, algebra, and physics or chemistry.


The environment profoundly affects the public's health. The field of environmental health utilizes interdisciplinary strategies to discover, understand and help mitigate adverse effects in populations.

Summarizes the concepts and principles underlying environmental health sciences, characterizes the major environmental agents and vectors affecting public health, and introduces major ecologic, scientific, and political issues from selected topical areas of environmental health. Presents the major concepts and principles that are environmentally mediated and that constitute a risk to humans —emphasizing the chemical, biological, and physical agents and factors. Then, considers sources, environmental pathways of transmission, exposure-dose relationships, adverse health effects, and particularly susceptible populations. Identifies the principles and methods of risk assessment and risk management, and uses these as a unifying theme.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Define the major environmental agents (i.e. environmental chemical, biological, and physical agents that cause adverse effects on human health) and their sources
  2. Discuss the transport and fate of these agents in the environment, and identify the carriers or vectors (air, water, soil, and food) that promote the transfer of these agents from the environment to the human
  3. Describe the toxicokinetics of these agents in the body, including the effect of route of entry (inhalation, ingestion, absorption)
  4. Describe the toxicodynamics of these agents, including biotransformation and the mechanisms by which they exert adverse health effects, and the use of models for prediction of the magnitude of adverse effects
  5. Identify and define the steps in the risk assessment process, including both exposure and dose-response assessment, and the sources and magnitude of uncertainty
  6. Describe various risk management approaches, including regulatory, engineering, and behavioral/risk communication options
  7. Describe specific genetic factors (including gender- and ethnicity-related factors), physiologic factors (including age- and health status-related factors), and psychosocial factors (including SES- and social/cultural-related factors) that influence the risk of exposure and/or the likelihood of developing adverse health outcomes from exposure to environmental agents
  8. Identify techniques for improving risk assessment and risk management strategies, including consideration of: (1) factors in the physical environment, (2) factors in the social environment, (3) community-based participation in both the assessment/management process and in basic environmental/public health research, and (4) issues of environmental justice/equity
Methods of Assessment:

There will be 4 exams with 25 questions, each exam is worth 25 points; a collaborative wiki document that is worth 30 points; and two assignments, each one is worth 10 points.
The maximum number of points is 150.
Grades will be as follows:
A is 135-150 points
B is 120-134 points
C is 105-119
D is 90-104 points

Instructor Consent:

No consent required

Special Comments:

This course is offered in two venues: summer term in East Baltimore and third term in Distance Education format via the internet. The third term distance education venue is a pure internet course, will all lectures, discussions, and other interactions occurring via the web. The summer term East Baltimore venue is a combination face-to-face class session for delivery of selected lectures and for all question and answer and discussion sessions, along with Internet delivery of all other lectures. This course's lecturers are internationally known experts in the fields of exposure assessment, biomarkers, and toxicology. For a list of specific course topics, please refer to the schedule.