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), Laboratory (16 hours)

Knowledge of general and applied ecology, inorganic and organic chemistry, environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology. Finally, the understanding of the spoken and written English language is required as slides, extracts from publications, scientific texts and manuals will be in English.

Final Examination: 

The final exam is oral and covers the entire program of the course.
For the purposes of the final judgment, the teacher assesses: the student's level of preparation, but also the ability to express him/herself with an appropriate scientific language, the ability to logically organize the speech; the capacity for critical reasoning on the study carried out;
The Cum Laude mark is awarded when the student shows optimal levels of preparation and processing of the information acquired.

Voto Finale

Educational objectives
The course aims to provide students with advanced tools for assessing environmental risk and what is needed for its management. It is placed in the first year of the Master's course, in the context of the Chemical Risk curriculum and starts from basic concepts of Ecotoxicology previously acquired to deepen them in a systematic way.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, the student will be able to:
1. Understand what is meant by environmental risk assessment or ecosystem risk.
2. describe its inclusion in Chemical risk management
4. apply the knowledge acquired to be able to perform a risk assessment for a substance,
5. understand what information is to be obtained in the various stages of exposure and effects assessment.
6. weigh this information to reach a choice of parameters and procedures suitable for the evaluation

The course deals with environmental risk assessment, which is part of the more general context of risk management. Below is the detailed program.

Part 1 (4 hours)
• Introduction to Environmental Risk Assessment
• Definitions: VRA in Europe and USA, ecological risk assessment vs. health risk assessment
• Planning and formulation of the problem
• Ecotoxicology vs VRA, Goals and objectives, Exposure scenarios, Conceptual models
• Environmental Risk Assessment Procedures
• Dimensions, scales, organization level

Part 2 (14 hours)
• Analysis of the exposure
• Contaminants, source identification and characterization, sampling, analysis, predictive approaches (models of the environmental fate at different scales and their integration), study of emissions. mechanisms of exposure of organisms in different ecosystems, insights into bioaccumulation: lipophilic substances and other mechanisms).
Part 3 (14 hours)
• Analysis of the effects
• exposure response report, laboratory tests for aquatic and terrestrial organisms, biological tests in the environment, biomarkers, extrapolation models at organism level, population modeling, modeling at ecosystem level

Part 4 (8 hours)
• Risk characterization
• PEC / PNEC comparison, uncertainty and assessment factors, secondary poisoning
• Risk Management n EU (TGD), USA, application examples
• Risk assessment sheets for main inorganic and organic contaminants
• Future of the environmental risk assessment

EXERCISES (16 hours)
Risk assessments will be carried out for some selected substances, through the stages dealt with in class.

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.
The slides in pdf format will be made available on the e-learning site.

Class lessons with computer lab exercises. The purpose of the exercises is to acquire the most of the theoretical skills by applying them to the resolution of specific problems such as the analysis of exposure, the evaluation of input and output data, the collection of data (from public databases) on the emission, the diffusion and effects of chemicals on the main terrestrial and aquatic species, the characterization of the risk for specific molecules.
A final report is to be provided by the students and must be presented at the time of the oral test, containing the chemical risk assessment for the selected molecules

Contact the teacher by e-mail ( to arrange an appointment for questions and clarifications.