Degree course: 
Corso di Second cycle degree in ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (40 hours), Exercise (16 hours)

Knowledge of general and applied ecology, inorganic and organic chemistry, environmental chemistry. Finally, it is necessary to be able to understand the English language (spoken and written) to understand the slides used in class, which derive from publications, scientific texts and manuals.

Final Examination: 

Oral examination. The oral examination will focus on questions related to the program in order to define the knowledge and understanding (25%), the ability to apply knowledge and understanding (25%), the independence of judgment (15%), communication skills (15%) and learning ability (20%) in relation to the theory of environmental risk assessment, also related to an example of a risk assessment of a substance.

Voto Finale

The course aims to provide students with tools to understand: (1) the processes regulating the distribution and concentrations of pollutants reaching the environment; (2) the effects on living organisms that may result from such concentrations; (3) to study the process for risk identification and management. It is expected that the student be able to understand and apply the acquired knowledge to perform a risk assessment of a substance. This includes the information to be obtained at the different stages and how to judge and weigh this information in order to be capable to make a choice.

The course deals with the environmental risk assessment, which fits in the broader context of risk management. Below is the detailed program.

Part 1 (4 h)
• Introduction to Environmental Risk Assessment
• Definition: VRA in Europe and USA, ecological risk assessment vs. human health risk assessment
• Planning and formulation of the problem
• Ecotoxicology vs ERA, Goals and objectives, exposure scenarios, conceptual models
• Procedures for Environmental Risk Assessment
• Size, Scale, Level of organization

Part 2 (14 h)
• Exposure Analysis
• Contaminants, Source Identification and characterization, sampling, analysis, predictive approaches (environmental fate models at different scales and their integration), study of emissions. mechanisms of organisms exposure of in different ecosystems, bioaccumulation, bioconcentration and biomagnification (lipophilic substances and other mechanisms).

Part 3 (14 h)
• Effects Analysis
- dose/response relationship, laboratory tests for aquatic and terrestrial organisms, biomarkers, extrapolation models, population modeling, modeling at ecosystem level

Part 4 (8 h)
• Risk Characterization
• Comparison PEC / PNEC, uncertainty factors in assessment, secondary poisoning
• Risk Management
• EU (TGD), USA, examples of application
• Examples of risk assessment for selected inorganic and organic contaminants
• Future of the environmental risk assessment

Environmental Risk Assessment examples will be compiled for some chemical compounds.

Calow P.P. (Ed.) (1997) Handbook of Environmental Risk Assessment and Management, Wiley-Blackwell.
Newman M., Unger M. (2009) Fundamentals of Ecotoxicology, CRC Press.
Mackay D. (2001) Multimedia Environmental Models: the fugacity approach, Lewis Publishers, 2nd ed.
Suter G. W. II (2006), Ecological Risk Assessment, CRC Press.
Walker C. H., Hopkin S. P., Sibly R.M., Peakall D.B.(2006) Principles of Ecotoxicology , CRC Press.
Slides will be available on the e-learning website.

Lectures. The skills acquired during the lectures will be applied to solve specific problems such as the analysis of exposure, the assessment of input and output data as well as the data collection on the effects on the main terrestrial and aquatic species. Risk characterization for specific chemicals will then be carried out.

Contact the lecturer by e-mail to obtain an appointment for questions and clarifications.