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ENVH12003 - Environmental Toxicology

General Information

Unit Synopsis

Environmental toxicology is the study of the nature, properties, effects and detection of toxic substances in diverse environments and those exposed. This unit provides an introduction to basic toxicology for students in public health disciplines and focuses on developing an understanding of the principles and concepts relating to environmental exposures. Topics that will be covered include routes of exposure, the concept of dose, dose-response relationships, absorption and distribution of toxicants, biotransformation and elimination, target organ toxicity, carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, teratogenesis and risk assessment. The unit will examine toxins of interest within community and occupational contexts and how they are tested and regulated. Case studies and special topics will be critically reviewed.


Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 2
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites


48 credit points AND

SCIE11022 OR CHEM11041

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 1 - 2020

Term 2 - 2020 Profile
Term 2 - 2021 Profile

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Online Quiz(zes) 20%
2. Written Assessment 40%
3. Examination 40%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

No previous feedback available

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: Student extension requests, informal feedback during tutorials.
A significant proportion of the class requested short extensions on the final assessment task, stating that the workload from other units was impacting on completing it on time.
Due date for Assessment Task 2 be moved back to Week 12.
Action Taken
Assesment task 2 was moved to Monday of Review Week to avoid clashing with the Friday due date for other units.
Source: Unit evaluation (1 response); evaluations from previous years; personal reflection.
Textbook difficult to read.
New textbook more specifically relevant to public health be considered for future terms.
Action Taken
An appropriate textbook was sought but unable to be identified.
Source: Unit evaluation (1 response)
EnHealth Risk Assessment process difficult to grasp.
Break down existing tutorial over two weeks to reduce the amount of learning required from a single tute.
Action Taken
Later due date for the Risk Assessment task allowed an extra tutorial to be offered.
Source: Course Review
New topic for Risk Assessment task needs to be developed to avoid recycling.
Develop new topics for the Risk Assessment activity.
Action Taken
Source: Unit evaluation, student feedback.
Students provide favourable feedback on the structure of this unit.
Continue to deliver combination of short quizzes, review questions and drop-in tutorials to support recorded lectures and guided reading.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Define fundamental toxicological concepts.
  2. Identify and classify a range of common toxins and their environmental sources.
  3. Explain the dose response relationship and its implications and applications.
  4. Describe fundamental processes and endpoints relating to toxins within the human body.
  5. Apply the principles of risk assessment and risk management to toxicological situations.
  6. Discuss major issues in environmental toxicology relating to exposures from natural and anthropogenic sources.
  7. Critically consider the ethical and regulatory implications of toxicological research, associated uncertainties and risk communication.

Bachelor of Environmental Health

Foundation and applied environmental toxicology (LOs 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6) are identified as underpinning skills and knowledge in Part 2 of the the Environmental Health Australia Skills & Knowledge Matrix, used as the basis for accreditation of the Bachelor of Environmental Health course. Methods of risk assessment and management (including as applied to toxicological issues) (LO 5) and the use of evidence in regulatory practice (LO7) are also identified as underpinning knowledge. Additionally, toxicology is an integral part of many of the activity-specific skills and knowledge identified in Part 3 of the Matrix.

Bachelor of Occupational Health & Safety

An understanding of toxicology is also vital to support studies in Occupational Hygiene, considered a core knowledge area in the Safety Institute of Australia's Body of Knowledge, proposed to be used for accreditation of OHS courses within Australia.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 - Online Quiz(zes)
2 - Written Assessment
3 - Examination
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
8 - Ethical practice
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 - Online Quiz(zes)
2 - Written Assessment
3 - Examination