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Spring 2015

MWF 10am- 10:50am

Room: Bio Med Center 081


Instructor: Tatiana Johnston

Office: Science Center, room 322
Office Hours: Mon 5-6pm

Environmental Health and Disease

TA: Sara Kavoosifar,

Hours: Scili Lobby Thurs 4-5pm, or by appointment

"When the earth is sick and polluted, human health is impossible.... To

heal ourselves we must heal our planet, and to heal our planet we must
heal ourselves." Bobby McLeod (environmental activist, poet)

In this course you will have the opportunity to explore
environmental health issues, scientific understanding of causes,
and possible future approaches to the major environmental
health problems in industrialized and developing countries.
Topics include how the human body reacts to environmental
pollutants; dose responses to different environmental toxicants;
the absorption, metabolism and excretion of toxicants in living
organisms; mechanisms of toxicity of selected environmental
toxicants and their effects on human organ systems; biomarkers
and risk analysis; and emerging global environmental health
This course also explores the relationship of humans to the
environmenthow it affects our well being, what we can do to
protect and enhance our health, and how we can influence the
quality of the environment.

This course has three specific goals:
1. To identify the principles and mechanisms governing the
interactions of environmental toxicants with living

Course Materials
Essentials of Environmental Health.
Robert H. Friis, 2nd edition, 2012, by
Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC,
A textbook of Modern Toxicology.
Ernest Hodgson, 4th edition, 2010, by
John Wiley & Sons Inc., ISBN-9780470462065 (e-version at SL)
(there is no required textbook)

Exam I. Lectures: 01/23-02/11/15
Exam II. Lectures: 02/2003/13/15
Exam III. Lectures: 03/1804/08/15
Research paper presentation.

2. To enable you to recognize and understand the diseases

associated with environmental exposures to toxicants.
3. To demonstrate how our health depends on the health of
our environment.

Environmental Health and Disease

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
1. Define the major sources and types of environmental toxicants.
2. Discuss the transport and fate of these toxicants in the environment and human body.
3. Understand how environmental toxicants interact with biological systems, and the mechanisms by
which they exert adverse effects on human health.
4. Know which diseases are associated with environmental exposures to toxic substances.
5. To take an action to minimize your exposure to the environmental toxicants and create a healthier
living environment.

General Policies
You will promote your efficient learning and ensure deep understanding of course material if you read
the required readings materials before the lecture and contribute informed opinions about the material
during class discussions. I am interested in what you think about what you have read. Participation in
class discussions is highly encouraged.
Required readings are listed in the Course Outline section of the syllabus. The scientific papers will be
available for you on the Canvas course website.

Interesting Extracurricular Resources

The New York Times Science Section
E Magazine (The Environmental Magazine)
Toxic Beauty: How Cosmetics and Personal-Care Products Endanger Your Health... and What You Can
Do About It, Samuel S. Epstein, MD, Ben Bella Books Inc., 2009, ISBN-978-1933771-62-5

Grading Policies
The course grade will be based on 3 exams, scientific paper and research paper presentations.
Exam 1
Scientific paper presentation
Exam 2
Exam 3
Research paper presentation

Environmental Health and Disease


Grading Scale
Your final grade will be based on the following scale:
A = 90-100%
B = 80-89%
C = 70-79%

Quizzes and In class Discussions

The course also includes ungraded quizzes, about which you will be notified in advance. Short 1-2
questions quizzes at the beginning/end of the lecture will be also implemented into the course. At the
end of the lecture there will be 10 minutes discussions on reading materials or selected course related

There will be three exams during the course. The exams will be based on the lecture content, required
reading materials and any additional information (handouts, articles, etc.) posted on the course website.
The exam questions will consist of multiple choice and short answer questions.

Scientific Paper Presentation and Discussion

Each student will present a scientific article from peer-reviewed journal of their choice that addresses a
health issue associated with exposure to an environmental toxicant or toxicants discussed in the
lectures. Your PowerPoint presentation and subsequent class discussion should be 10 to 12 minutes
long. There will be four students presenting per class (the rubric will be available on Canvas).

Research Paper Presentation Requirements

For this assignment the class will be divided into small groups. Each student group will choose an
adverse environmental health situation where a toxic substance was released into the environment. The
group will research the situation and present their findings to the rest of the class. The specifics will be
discussed in more detail as we approach the deadline (see the Course Outline).
Suggested format for research paper presentation: (the rubric will be available on Canvas)

Introduction: when, where, what kind, and how the release of toxicants happened.
What were the impacts on human health?
What were the scientific follow-up studies on the hazardous event?
What remediation/possible ways to clean it up were attempted?
Were any changes made to the environmental laws?
What are your reflections on the researched environmental health issue?

Environmental Health and Disease

Student and Instructor Feedback

I will be asking for your anonymous feedback at several points during the semester. Your feedback is
very important to the development of this course and will aid me in tailoring the course content and
structure to the needs of this class.
I will also provide you with individual feedback throughout the course via comments on your
assignments and open office hours. I encourage you to come talk to me if you have any concerns or

Academic Honesty
Brown University has an Academic Code that defines academic dishonesty, and the policies and
penalties governing violations. Please, visit the following website for more information:

Disability Accommodations
Students requiring a disability-related accommodations should contact me directly at the beginning of
the semester, as well as the Office of Student & Employee Accessibility Services for arrangements they
may require: seas

Environmental Health and Disease

Course Outline


Required Readings

01/21/15 Introduction to the

course and
01/23/15 Introduction to
Health & Disease.
Understanding the
state of our current

Syllabus. The 11th hour movie.

01/26/15 Introduction to
toxicology: the link
exposure and health.
01/28/15 The general health
effects of air

Chapter 3 Environmental Toxicology. Friis, R., Essentials of

Environmental health.
Chapter 25 Basics of environmental toxicology. Textbook of modern
toxicology, Hodgson, E., 2010

01/30/15 The last mountain

movie (on the direct
link between air
pollution and human

02/02/15 Hazardous and solid

wastes: sustainable

02/04/15 Impact of water

pollution on human

Chapter 9 Water Quality. Friis, R., Essentials of Environmental


02/06/15 Student

Scientific articles provided by student presenters

02/09/15 Environmental and

human health
concerns over

Lowry, G.V., et al., Transformations of Nanomaterials in the

Environment. Environ. Sci. Technol., 46, (2012), pp.6893-6899
Wiesner, M.R., et al., Assessing the risks of manufactured
nanomaterials. Environ. Sci. Technol., 40, (2006), pp. 4336-4345
Moore, M.N., Do nanoparticles present ecotoxicological risks for the
health of aquatic environment? Environ. Int., 32, (2006), pp.967-976

Environmental Health and Disease

Rapparort, S., Discovering environmental causes of disease. J.

Epidemiol. Community Health., 66 (2012), pp. 99-102
Peters et al., Understanding the link between environmental
exposures and health: does exposure promise too much? J.
Epidemiol. Community Health., 66, (2012), pp. 102-105

Chapter 10 Environmental Toxicology. Friis, R., Essentials of

Environmental health.

02/11/15 Student
02/13/15 Exam I

Scientific articles provided by student presenters

02/16/15 No class.
02/18/15 Principles of

Simon, T., Just who is at risk? The ethics of environmental

regulation. (2010), Hum. Exp. Toxicol., 30, pp. 795-819
Cochan, R.C., Driver, J.H., Estimating human exposure: improving
accuracy with chemical markers. (2012), Prog. Mol. Biol. Transl. Sci.,
112, pp.11-29.

02/20/15 Absorption,
distribution and
excretion of

Genius, S.J., Elimination of persistent toxicants from the human

body. (2011), Human. Exp. Toxicol., 30, pp.3-18
Hagenbuch, B., Guo, C., Xenobiotics transporters of the human
organic anion transporting polypeptides (OATP) family.(2008),
Xenobiotica, 38, pp.778-801
Ueda, K., ABC proteins protect the human body and maintain optimal
health. (2011), Toxicol. Sci., 120 (supl 1), S192-S203

02/23/15 Mechanisms of
toxicity: cellular
dysfunction and
resultant toxicities.

Stevens, J.B, et al., Heterogeneity of cell death. (2013),Cytogene.t

Genome. Res.,139 (3), pp.164-73.
Chen, D., et al., MicroRNA as a new player in the cell cycle. (2010),
J. Cell Physiol., 225, pp. 296-301

02/25/15 Student

Scientific articles provided by student presenters

02/27/15 Extreme chemical


Genius, S.J., Sensitivity-related illness: the escalating pandemic of

allergy, food intolerance and chemical sensitivity. (2010), Science
Total Environ, 408, pp.6047-6061
Genius, S.J., Chemical sensitivity: pathophysiology or
pathopsychology? Clinical Therapeutics, (2013), 35 (5), pp.572-577

03/02/15 Heavy metal toxicity:

common toxic
mechanisms and
sites of action.

Chapter 6 Toxic metals and elements. Friis, R., Essentials of

Environmental health.
Nickens, K., et al., Chromium genotoxicity: a double -edged sword.
Chem. Biol. Interact., 188 (2010), pp. 276-288

03/04/15 Student

Scientific articles provided by student presenters

03/06/15 A peek into

contamination in
Rhode Island and

Environmental Health and Disease

03/09/15 The unintended

health consequences
of pesticide use.

Chapter 7 Pesticides and other organic chemicals. Friis, R.,

Essentials of Environmental health.
Tanner et al., Paraquat, and Parkinsons disease. Environ.
Perspective, 119 (2011), pp. 866-872

03/11/15 Student

Scientific articles provided by student presenters

03/13/15 Exam II.

03/16/15 Environmental
hormones as
endocrine disruptors.

Jefferson, W., et al., Reproductive Consequences of Developmental

Phytoestrogen Exposure. Reproduction, 143(3) (2012), pp. 247260
Phillips, P., et al., Combined Sewer Overflows: An Environmental
Source of Hormones and Wastewater Micropollutants. Environ. Sci.
Technol., 46(10) (2012), pp. 53365343

03/18/15 Student

Scientific articles are provided by student presenters

03/20/15 Compound safety

assessment and derisking strategies.

03/23/15 No class. Spring

03/25/15 No class. Spring
03/27/15 No class. Spring
03/30/15 Reproductive organ

Sharpe, R., Environmental/lifestyle effects on spermatogenesis.

Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B. Biol. Sci., 365 (2010), pp. 1697-1712
Duong, A., et al., Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity of
Formaldehyde: A Systematic Review. Mutat Res., 728 (2011),
Woodruff,T., et al., Proceedings of the Summit on Environmental
Challenges to Reproductive Health and Fertility: Executive Summary.
Fertil. Steril., 89 (2008), pp.281300

04/01/15 Environmental
contaminants and
childrens health.
04/03/15 Student

Mori, S., and Todaka, E., Environmental contaminants and childrens


Environmental Health and Disease

Scientific articles are provided by student presenters

04/06/15 Common teratogens.


Chapter 12 Teratogenesis. Textbook of modern toxicology, Hodgson,

E., 4th edition, 2010

04/08/15 Student

Scientific articles are provided by student presenters

04/10/15 Exam III.

04/13/15 Toxic beauty

Epstein, S., Toxic beauty (recommended);

NYT articles: a) Government says 2 common materials pose risk of
cancer; b) Johnson & Johnson to remove formaldehyde from
products; c) The no more tears shampoo, now with no

04/15/15 Student
04/17/15 Love canal and the
birth of

Suggested: Love Canal: and the Birth of the Environmental Health

Movement. Gibbs, L. M., Island Press, 2010, ISBN-13: 9781597267922

04/20/15 Research paper

04/22/15 Research paper
04/24/15 Research paper

Environmental Health and Disease