Living in a Polluted World|
Fall 2013 not offered
|Certificates: Environmental Studies|
The modern natural world has become polluted with uncountable numbers of organic and inorganic compounds, some with unspeakable names, others simple toxic elements. This worldwide contamination is the result of our extensive use of natural resources, large-scale fossil fuel burning, and the creation of many synthetic compounds. Many of the polluting substances endanger human health and may impact ecosystems as well. Most pollutants will travel along aqueous pathways, be they rivers, groundwater, or oceans. In this course we will track the sources and pathways of pollutants such as As, Hg, Pb, Cu, Cr; nutrient pollution such as nitrate and phosphate; and a suite of organic pollutants. We will discuss both the main industrial and natural sources of these pollutants, their chemical pathways in the environment, and how they ultimately may become bioavailable and then enter the food chain. We will look at full global pollutant cycles and highlight recent shifts in industrial emitters, e.g., from the United States to China over the last few years. We will discuss the toxic nature of each pollutant for humans, ways of monitoring environmental exposure to these toxins, and possible ways of protection and remediation.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CIS)(E&ES)(ENVS-MN)(ENVS)
Sullivan et al., THE ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE OF DRINKING WATER
Plus various papers
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Midterm, final, term paper or project
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
Students should contact the instructor prior to registration regarding their background in general chemistry (high school, college)
The course will consist of lectures with some lab classes. Students will collect materials (waters, sediment from lakes or wetlands), which will then be analyzed for Hg, Pb, Cr and Cu as well as several other components to understand the cycling of these trace metals in the natural environment. We will also collect hair and nail samples of class members to look at their toxic exposure histories. We will use the new E&ES X-ray Fluorescence facility for some of the analyses as well as the full suite of wet chemical equipment for water analyses.
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