Session Type

Presentation

Start Date

6-7-2011 4:00 PM

Keywords

toxicology, health risk assessment, chemistry, nanotechnology

Primary Threads

Curriculum

Abstract

Like ourselves, our students are interested in the risks presented by chemicals or materials on human health or the health of the environment. But are our science graduates well-formed to take part in issues that confront the public? What of fluoridation, bisphenol-A, and aromatic hydrocarbons from Alberta’s oil sands? For the students in fields where they may work with high toxicity substances, we as instructors have an obligation. These students need to be able to understand the exposure, reactivity, and effects of the substances they may be manipulating daily. With that understanding they are well armed to best protect themselves; yet this is not part of their curriculum. And what of the emerging disciplines where there is production and commercialization of materials for which very little is known? We’ve a duty to form the critical mind that can make appropriate risk reduction decisions when confronted with conflicting science. For the general science students, our obligation is just as important. These students will be our advocates for change for the good of the public or environment. This presentation will outline the recent course instituted in the University of Waterloo’s nanotechnology program, which was created to present what is known and not known of the human health and environmental risks of engineered nanomaterials, and addresses the challenge that if we are all in fact concerned about substances in our environment, then there is a need to place how science is taught into the context of which we live.


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Jul 6th, 4:00 PM

Thinking about how to best form scientists: Incorporating toxicology, public and environmental health risks into the curriculum

Like ourselves, our students are interested in the risks presented by chemicals or materials on human health or the health of the environment. But are our science graduates well-formed to take part in issues that confront the public? What of fluoridation, bisphenol-A, and aromatic hydrocarbons from Alberta’s oil sands? For the students in fields where they may work with high toxicity substances, we as instructors have an obligation. These students need to be able to understand the exposure, reactivity, and effects of the substances they may be manipulating daily. With that understanding they are well armed to best protect themselves; yet this is not part of their curriculum. And what of the emerging disciplines where there is production and commercialization of materials for which very little is known? We’ve a duty to form the critical mind that can make appropriate risk reduction decisions when confronted with conflicting science. For the general science students, our obligation is just as important. These students will be our advocates for change for the good of the public or environment. This presentation will outline the recent course instituted in the University of Waterloo’s nanotechnology program, which was created to present what is known and not known of the human health and environmental risks of engineered nanomaterials, and addresses the challenge that if we are all in fact concerned about substances in our environment, then there is a need to place how science is taught into the context of which we live.