Human and environmental toxicology

lbrte2201  2022-2023  Louvain-la-Neuve

Human and environmental toxicology
4.00 credits
30.0 h + 7.5 h
Debier Cathy (coordinator); Hantson Philippe;
Basics of chemistry, biochemistry and physiology
Main themes
Human Toxicology (30h): Historical Overview, concepts and basic concepts in toxicology, assessment methods - Metabolism of xenobiotics : absorption by inhalation, ingestion or dermal; distribution; biotransformation (phase I and II reactions) and excretion - Toxicity of major pollutants or contaminants dangerous to humans: lead, cadmium, mercury, pesticides, dioxins, PCBs, air pollutants, carcinogens - Risk assessment.
Environmental Toxicology (15h +7.5 h): Transport of pollutants - Monitoring of pollutants (biomarkers and bioindicators) - Emerging Pollutants - Contamination of foodstuffs - Endocrine Disruptors - Effects of pollutants on populations and communities - Risk assessment in ecotoxicology
Depending on their program, students may attend only the "Human Toxicology" (BRTE2201A)
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

1 a. Contribution of the activity to the referential of the programme (LO)
1.1, 1.2, 2.2, 2.5, 6.1, 6.2, 6.4, 7.1, 7.3, 7.4, 8.1, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6
b. Specific formulation of the learning outcome of this activity.
At the end of this course, the student:
- knows and understands the basic principles of toxicology (dose, exposure, hazard, danger, indicator, biomarker) ;
- is able to describe the epidemiological and experimental methods used to assess the toxicity of chemicals ;
- knows the main routes of absorption, metabolism and elimination of toxic substances ;
- is able to compare the toxicity of major pollutants and contaminants to which humans may be exposed according to their lifestyle (heavy metals, air pollutants, pesticides, dioxins, industrial pollutants, hydrocarbons ')
After the section " Environmental Toxicology ", the student :
- knows and understands the modes of contamination of the environment;
- is able to describe the technical monitoring of pollutants in the environment (eg through the use of bio-indicators);
- knows and understands the impact of pollutants on individuals (including humans) , communities and ecosystems (among others through the use of biomarkers );
- masters the techniques of " risk assessment " in ecotoxicology;
- understands the specificities related to the toxicity of endocrine disruptors and is able to make comparisons with other toxic substances;
- knows emerging pollutants, including their toxic effects, and is able to compare it with older pollutants;
- demonstrates critical thinking towards the impact of human activities on environmental contamination and ultimately on human health.
The course is divided in different chapters : 
1 - Principles of Toxicology 
 - Introduction to toxicology
 - Characteristics of exposure
 - Interactions of chemicals
 - Dose-response
 - Variation in toxic responses
2 – Absorption, Distribution and Excretion of toxicants
3 – Biotransformation of Xenobiotics
4 – Heavy metals 
5 - Pesticides
6 - Poisonous gases
7 - Persistent organic pollutants
8 - Plastics and microplastics
9 - Endocrine disruptors
10 - Environmental Toxicology
 - Transport and fate of toxicants in the environment
 - Environmental monitoring
 - Environmental risk assessment
The practical section includes seminars given by experts and exercises on risk assessment in ecotoxicology
Teaching methods
Coordinated package of lectures with audio-visual aids (slides and videos) given by the teachers - concrete examples
Exercices on risk assessment in ecotoxicology and seminars given by invited experts
Most of the activity requires the presence of the students.
Evaluation methods
Written exam during the session (questions on theory and exercices)
Other information
This course can be given in English.
Online resources
Slides used by the professors are available on Moodle
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Master [120] in Environmental Science and Management

Master [120] in Biochemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology

Master [120] in Biomedical Engineering

Master [120] in Environmental Bioengineering

Interdisciplinary Advanced Master in Science and Management of the Environment and Sustainable Development

Master [120] in Chemistry and Bioindustries

Master [120] in Agricultural Bioengineering