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Environmental Health

3rd term
Environmental Health and Engineering
5 credits
Academic Year:
2019 - 2020
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor :
Joseph Bressler

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.

Acquaints students with how the environment impacts human health by examining specific health issues, exploring the scientific understanding of causes, and possible future approaches to control the major environmental health problems in industrialized and developing countries. Uses case-studies, detailed lectures, and interactive sessions to highlight topics including how the body reacts to environmental pollutants; physical, chemical, and biological agents of environmental contamination; environmental media (air, water, soil) that may disseminate these agents; solid and hazardous waste; susceptible populations; biomarkers and risk analysis; the scientific basis for policy decisions; and emerging global environmental health challenges.

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:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 60% Exam(s)
  • 10% Assignments
  • 30% Paper(s)

Instructor Consent:

No consent required

Special Comments:

This course is offered in two venues: summer term in East Baltimore and third term online 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.