Currently Taught Course Details

ESHH 530 — Environmental and Occupational Health Chemistry (EOHC)

This course (EOHC) provides a basic understanding of the chemical processes that are important in environmental and occupational health. Applications of core chemical concepts are developed through case-studies involving issues of major importance to humans, society, ecosystems, and the planet.

The main topics that comprise the syllabus are:

  • » Environmental Media and Processes (Natural and Occupational)
  • » Contaminants (Nomenclature, Chemical Informatics)
  • » Disinfection and Disinfection Byproducts
  • » Volatile Organics (Solvents, Fumigants)
  • » Semivolatile Organics (Pesticides, Industrial Chemicals)
  • » Nonvolatile Organics (Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products)
  • » Nonmetal Inorganics (Fluoride, Perchlorate, Nitrate)
  • » Heavy Metals (Lead, Mercury, Copper, Zinc)
  • » Metal Anions (Arsenic, Selenium, Chromate)
  • » Aerosols and Radioctives (Indoor Air, Radon)
  • » Materials (Nanoparticles, Micro- and Nano-Plastics)
  • » Surfactants (Detergents, PFAS)
  • » Biologicals (Toxins, Pathogens, COVID-19)
  • » Special/Current Topics (e.g., Riot Control Agents)

Each topic listed above is covered in 1-2 lectures followed by a recitation section in which students make presentations designed to exercise their understanding of an aspect of the preceding lecture topic. A YouTube video with samples from past class lectures is available to OHSU and PSU students who are considering taking the course (request access by emailing Prof. Tratnyek).

Grades are based on the students' recitations and a final paper. There are no exams or problem assignments. There is no textbook, but readings are assigned. The standard-format syllabus is available at OHSU's Sakai Website.

Because chemistry is the ""central science", it is inevitable that topics covered in this course also appear in other courses, especially in ESHH, but also epidemiology, etc. However, only EOHC provides enough fundamental background on the major contaminant classes for students to predict the fate/effects of novel contaminants under novel circumstances.

This course (EOHC) is mainly offered as an elective for MPH students in the Environmental Systems and Human Health (ESHH) track. It is also available to other MPH students in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health and other OHSU and PSU students (with permission).

Some college level chemistry background is desirable, but there are no specific prerequisites.