This course will tell the story of a few individual chemicals from different standpoints: their basic chemistry, environmental behavior, ecotoxicology, human health impacts, and societal role. The goal of the course is to draw out the common points in each chemical's history to be able to better predict the environmental and human health impacts of new chemicals whose story is so far unknown.
This course aims to illustrate how the individual molecular properties and societal pressures lead to environmental and human health crises. The ultimate goal of the course is to identify common aspects that will improve prediction of environmental crises before they occur. Students are expected to participate actively in the course, which includes the critical reading of the pertinent literature and class presentations.
Each semester will feature between three and five case studies of molecules, or classes of molecules, that have had a profound effect on human health and the environment. These case studies will be explored from different angles, including considering their environmental chemistry their toxicology and their societal role. Students will be expected to contribute to the discussion and, on selected topics, to lead the discussion.