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

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 2 - 2018

Term 2 - 2018 Profile
Term 2 - 2019 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 Procedures for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 2 - 2017 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 4.6 (on a 5 point Likert scale), based on a 100% response rate.

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: Course evaluation
Too many assessment tasks; two major assessment tasks in the later part of the term.
Assessment tasks have been broken up to reduce the amount of content covered for each task and to effectively assess the student against the course learning outcomes. Quizzes are small, and are designed as formative tasks to prepare students for the exam, as well as assessing specific learning outcomes. Unfortunately, there is no alternative to the two major assessment tasks that occur toward the end of term, as these tasks are designed to assess the application of a body of knowledge gained throughout the term.
Action Taken
High satisfaction scores continue to be returned regarding assessment design, so no further action is considered necessary.
Source: Course evaluation.
More interaction from lecturer necessary.
Students are provided with weekly recorded lectures and weekly announcements on the Latest News forum. Emails were sent out after both quizzes to each individual student. Regular Collaborate tutorials were offered but rarely taken up by students. Students posted rarely to online forums, despite encouragement to do so. Students who engage in the course environment receive one on one and interaction with the lecturer, but the lecturer can only interact with student who wish to engage. Weekly recorded lectures and announcements and regular Collaborate tutes will continue to be offered. Forum posts will be responded to promptly. Additional interaction with the lecturer will only occur with students who are prepared to engage. This should be outlined more clearly early in the term in future offerings.
Action Taken
Despite engagement opportunities being highlighted early in the term and reiterated on a regular basis, engagement was very low in 2017. Students appeared to find this satisfactory. Opportunities will continue to be identified throughout term but no additional activities will be introduced.
Source: Course evaluation
One student suggested a residential element for the course to meet other flex students.
This course is operated by distance only and would require all students to attend in a term where there are other required residential schools. Unfortunately, it is not feasible to run an additional residential school for social purposes.
Action Taken
No residential planned or proposed for the future. Students did not indicate a desire for a residential school in 2017.
Source: Unit evaluation and personal reflection
Move due date for written assessment back to increase revision time for exam and relieve pressure on the final weeks of term. This would require some adjustment to content and due date for Quiz 2 but would also allow students to receive the grade for their report before their exam, providing more surety regarding their performance.
Move due date from Week 12 to Week 10 or 11.
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