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About this book

Every day we are exposed to toxins and toxicants that can impact our health. Yet we rarely teach elementary and secondary students about these exposures and how they can reduce their risk to them. In this book we highlight activities and curriculum developed at nine universities in the United States from a grant funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Our goal is to extend these lessons to a global audience and for classroom teachers of all subjects and age levels to include environmental health in their teaching.

‘An invaluable tool for equipping informed citizens to think about the environment and its human impacts --both the science, and equally important, the social and ethical dimensions’ , Howard Frumkin, M.D., Dr. P.H., Dean, School of Public Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

Table of Contents


Environmental Health as an Interdisciplinary Subject

Lessons on environmental health can be integrated throughout the school curriculum. In chapter one, we first situate the book within the conceptual constructs of the curriculum goals of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in the United States, which funded developing and implementing the curriculum described. Second, we provide an overview of environmental health along with some of the key themes and concepts that are introduced in the lessons, including environmental agents, toxins and toxicants, dose response, and action strategies that can be taken to reduce exposure risks. Third, we highlight a few of the literally hundreds of lessons developed. Finally, we provide examples of suggested activities in the following chapters that may be adapted for use in schools throughout the world.
David W. Hursh, Camille A. Martina, Michael A. Trush, Hillary B. Davis

The Science of Environmental Public Health

 In this chapter, we begin with how the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States define environmental health. We then turn to describing environmental hazards and how to measure and assess environmental exposures. Next, we examine the process through which hazardous agents enter and influence body systems, and why individuals respond differently to toxic exposures. Then, we show the relationship between exposure and disease risk assessment. We conclude with case studies of two toxic agents—mercury and dioxin—that demonstrate how the concepts provided in this chapter can be applied.
David W. Hursh, Camille A. Martina, Michael A. Trush, Hillary B. Davis

Environmental Health Curriculum

In this chapter, we provide examples of units and lessons on environmental health issues related to air, water, soil and agriculture created by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) funded projects. We provide sufficient depth to enable the reader to implement the lessons suggested in this chapter or to develop their own lessons based on these project lessons. Although literally hundreds, if not thousands of pages of ideas and resources are available on the NIEHS website, we have not attempted to describe all of the lessons. Instead, we provide readers with sufficient examples and guidelines so they can develop and implement lessons on environmental health that best fit the needs of the students and locality. Of course, we do encourage the reader to access the NIEHS and other websites for resources on environmental health information and offer suggestions as to which ones might be appropriate for specific topics. We conclude by describing a model for environmental health curriculum design and implementation. 
David W. Hursh, Camille A. Martina, Michael A. Trush, Hillary B. Davis

Working for Social and Environmental Justice Through Environmental Health

 Natural and synthetic toxicants can cause harm to people and their environment. People who are living in poverty typically face greater environmental risks than people who are wealthy. Consequently, we can ask whether these differing health risks are fair or just, and what we, as teachers and students, can and should do about it. We can also ask how do we create a society that will benefit both people and the environment. In this chapter, we show how these questions can lead to students changing their behaviors and working to educate their fellow students and community. Students can also act to change environmental policies at the local, state/provincial, national, and global levels in order to reduce or eliminate exposure risks. In the process, students can gain a better understanding of what they can do as citizens to create a society that promotes the health of all its citizens.
David W. Hursh, Camille A. Martina, Michael A. Trush, Hillary B. Davis

Erratum to: Teaching Environmental Health to Children

Without Abstract
David W. Hursh, Camille A. Martina, Michael A. Trush, Hilarie B. Davis


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