Environmental Toxicology

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Environmental Toxicology

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Environmental Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Period 1

    Level: 300

    Become familiar with the basic principles of environmental toxicology, including aspects of exposure, toxicity and risk assessment of chemicals in the environment.

    Final attainment levels:
    after this course, the student is capable of:

    • Recognizing different chemical classes of toxic compounds;
    • Naming different sources of toxic chemicals;
    • Naming different properties determining the fate of toxic chemicals in the environment;
    • Describing the processes determining the fate of chemicals in the environment;
    • Listing different methods used for assessing the toxicity of individual chemicals and complex mixtures;
    • Mentioning different methods for assessing the (eco)toxicity of samples of soil, water and tissues;
    • Explaining different modes of action of toxic chemicals;
    • Mentioning the main targets of chemicals in organisms;
    • Distinguishing effects of toxic chemicals at different levels of biological organization;
    • Applying (eco)toxicological knowledge in the human and ecotoxicological risk assessment of chemicals

    This course offers an introduction to the recognition, analysis and prediction of environmental and human health problems caused by potentially toxic chemicals. Emphasis lies on the relation between the mode of action of a chemical and its effects on individuals and populations. In this course, aspects from environmental chemistry and toxicology will be presented, while attention is also paid to aspects of ecology and risk assessment.

    The theory presented includes the following aspects:

    • History and aims of environmental toxicology;
    • Overview of potentially hazardous chemicals;
    • Distribution and mobility of chemicals in the environment;
    • Bioavailability, uptake and elimination kinetics;
    • Bioaccumulation, biotransformation and excretion;
    • Dose-response relationships;
    • Modes of action;
    • Structure-activity relationships;
    • Mixture toxicity;
    • Development of resistance;
    • Effects on populations and ecosystems;
    • Methods of environmental diagnosis;
    • Bioassays, biosensors and biomarkers;
    • Models for predicting chemical concentrations and effects;
    • Environmental and human risk assessment of chemicals;
    • Risk limits for chemicals in environmental legislation.

    Lectures, Working classes and interactive sessions to practice with theory, Computer lab, Practical, Self study, Exam

    Written exam

    Optional for 3rd year bachelor students in the minor programmes Evolutionary Biology and Ecology (Biology) and Environmental Health (Health and Life Sciences). The course is open to students from other teaching programmes. Students from other programmes should contact the course coordinator and ask the examination committee of their own teaching programme for permission to attend the course.

    This minor course requires a minimum of 25 participants to take place

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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