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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Elaine M. Faustman
PB AF 589
Seattle Campus

Risk Assessment for Environmental Health Hazards

Examines context, methodologies, data, uncertainties, and institutional arrangements for risk assessment. Qualitative and quantitative approaches to identification, characterization, and control of environmental hazards to health emphasized through didactic and case studies. Offered: jointly with CEE 560/ENV H 577; A.

Class description

Environmental Risk Assessment is a graduate course that introduces students to the fundamentals of environmental risk assessment. Students learn to identify, characterize and predict environmental health risk. Prediction methods are taught and students will have an opportunity to use these approaches. Methods for evaluating uncertainty in such predictions are presented. Approaches for preventing and controlling such potential risks are also included in the course content and this will involve discussion of legislative and regulatory options as well as risk communication techniques. Students will prepare a risk assessment within a group project.

Student learning goals

Identifying hazards and understanding the methodologies and types of data generated by toxicology studies;

Define risk assessment, describe the what, why and how of risk assessment, i.e., describing and differentiating the risks, benefits and costs of a particular action or chemical and thereby developing a framework for decision-making in environmental health and safety;

Characterizing the risks of a specific hazard by accounting for variables, differing sensitivities and uncertainties of analysis;

Identifying factors that contribute to the diversity of the response of human populations to environmental toxicants;

Prepare and present a group risk assessment project that identifies, characterizes, and manages an environmental, ecological, or occupational risk;

Define risk management and identify means to control risk including use of legislative and regulatory guidelines;

General method of instruction

Through the use of case examples in all lectures and in the group project, students will become familiar with examples of chemical, physical and biological agents and will be able to understand the sources of such risks within the community. For example, media-specific (air, water, soil) as well as context-specific (food, occupational, medicine, etc.) factors will be included. Natural as well as man-made risks will be assessed. Lectures and student exercises will emphasize the significance of integrating information from core public health disciplines of environmental health, epidemiology, health policy management and social and behavioral sciences.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Final Exam: (25%) Student Project: (50%) Oral Presentation and Student Project Critique: (20%) Paper: (30%) Memo to the Governor (20%) Credit/No Credit assignments: Short Term Assay Review (2.5%)and Quantitative Worksheet examples (2.5%)


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Course Syllabus
Last Update by Blake N Cooper
Date: 12/12/2008