Jamie BaxterWestern Social Science


This syllabus is "dynamic" or a "living document", it will change throughout the term. Come back here before each lecture.

Lecture Schedule

These lectures are also available in the resources section of OWL (Readings are listed in brackets)

Date Topic Reading
Jan 8 Scope of Course None
Jan 15 Introduction - Key Concepts Moeller Ch 1
Jan 22

Measuring Health-Environment Links: Toxicology

Discussion Assignment 1

Moeller Ch 2
Jan 29 Measuring Health-Environment Links: Epidemiology Moeller Ch 3
Feb 5 Contaminants in Air Moeller Ch 5
Feb 12

Risk Assessment and Management

Assignment 1 Due

Feb 26

Midterm Exam

Mar 5

Built Environment and Health I

Discussion Assignment 2

Frank et al. Ch 1 & 3
Mar 12 Built Environment and Health II  Putnam (2000) Ch 1 & 20
Mar 19 Environmental Equity and Policy Cutter 1995
Mar 26

Environment and Health and the Media 

Course Instructor Evaluations

Beseley and Shanahan 2004
April 2

Video - Nature of Things - Playing with Poison (examinable)

Assignment 2 Due

Guillette et al. (1998)
April 9 Review None

Tutorial Schedule

NEW: Each student is required to complete the readings and have responses to the "think questions" posted by the TAs on WebCt.  The think questions will be posted at least a day before tutorial.  All are expected to participate in the tutorial discussions.  In general you will be critically appraising the readings by summarizing key themes, findings, methods, deficiencies, and directions for future research.  Avoid the pitfall of too much summary, focus on critical commentary (e.gs., What might a different method reveal? Who was studied, and would it matter if a different group was studied?  What is the strength of the evidence relative to the conclusions?).  You may find the following critical appraisal form helpful.

Date Topic Reading 10:30 11:30
Jan 9 No Tutorial none TBA TBA
Jan 16 Introduction and Ice-Breaker, sign up for tutorial facilitation  none
Jan 23

Epidemiology in Contaminated Communities

Case Study: Love Canal

Health et al (1984); Bari Kolata (1980); Holden (1980)
Jan 30

Water Contamination by Pathogens

Case Study: Walkerton 

Hrudey et al (2003); Parr (2005)
Feb 6 Limits to Epidemiology Taubes (1995); Taubes (1997)
Mar 6

Built Environment and Health (obesity)

Case Study: Canada vs USA

Morland and Evenson (2009); Seliske et al. (2009)
Mar 13

Built Environment and Health (social capital)

Case Studies: Wales and Ireland

Araya (2006); Leyden (2003)
Mar 20

Environmental Equity 

Case Study: England and Wales

Wheeler (2004)
Mar 27

Pesticides and Health 

Case Study: Mexico

Guillette et al (1998)

Course Description

This is a survey course regarding the links between human health to environmental hazard exposure. Issues will include the health impacts of water pollution, air pollution, solid and hazardous waste, toxic substances, pesticides, and radiation. The limitations of models and methods will be discussed.


This course consists of two lecture hours per week and one tutorial hour per week. The lecture hours will consist of a mixture of lectures and discussion. Some lecture class time may even be devoted to tutorial-style discussion. The tutorial will involve discussion of selected readings, these readings may be unique to the tutorial (see tutorial schedule) or may also be associated with the lectures (see lecture schedule). Though students are responsible for completing readings prior to each lecture and tutorial, this is especially true for the latter since this is where most of the participation marks will be awarded. The format of the tutorials is described above the tutorial schedule.


Lecture: Wednesday, 2 hours, 13:30 - 15:30, TH 3102

Tutorial 1 - Thursday 10:30 - 11:30 P&AB 117

Tutorial 2 - Thursday 11:30 - 12:30 P&AB 36


Participation (tutotial and lecture) - 10%

Assignments (two) - 35%

Midterm Exam - 20%

Final Exam - 35%

You must complete all course components to pass the course.

No electronic devices - e.g. phones, calculators, are allowed at the midterm or exam

For a full description of assignments and exams please click here.


Course text:

Moeller , D. (2011) Environmental Health (Fourth Edition) Cambridge Mass: Harvard University Press.

All other material will be made available via Sakai

Handing in Material

I cannot get it in on time!

For cases where your reason is not medical, compassionate grounds (e.g., family death) etc. as per below there is a 5% per day penalty - a weekend counts as one day. The clock starts at 9am every morning. You can slide the paper under my door (I typically arrive before 9).

University Policies

Accommodation for Illness, Family Death etc.

For UWO Policy on Accommodation for Medical Illness and a downloadable SMC see:


Downloadable Student Medical Certificate (SMC): http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/medicalform_15JUN.pdf

Students seeking academic accommodation on medical grounds for any missed graded course components must apply to the Academic Counselling office of their home Faculty and provide documentation. Academic accommodation cannot be granted by the instructor or department.

And now some messages from our lawyers...

Mental Illness

If you or someone you know is experiencing distress, there are several resources here at Western to assist you. Please visit http://www.uwo.ca/uwocom/mentalhealth/ for more information on these resources and on mental health.


The Department of Geography has a zero tolerance policy towards plagiarism. If a student commits plagiarism, the instructor will assign a grade of zero to the assignment. A second instance of plagiarism is regarded as a scholastic offense and will be dealt with according to The University of Western Ontario policy for Scholastic offenses - more on our policy on plagiarism via this link. The most common offense is failing to cite properly - if you quote directly, cite the author! You do not get the benefit of the doubt (you are not presumed innocent until proven guilty) when such offenses are committed. That is, the burden of proof is reversed. Can you prove "it was an accident" (this is a rhetorical question)?

The following is an excerpt from the university secretariat: Scholastic offences are taken seriously and students are directed to read the appropriate policy, specifically, the definition of what constitutes a Scholastic Offence, at the following Web site: http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/pdf/academic_policies/appeals/scholastic_discipline_undergrad.pdf

Not citing the work of others is generally the main violation - ignorance is no excuse! See next...


Unfortunately turnitin has "caught" several offenders in my classes, please do not be the next one - it is awkward for everyone involved. If you do original work and write and cite properly you have nothing to worry about. The university has provided this mandatory wording: "All required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to the commercial plagiarism detection software under license to the University for the detection of plagiarism. All papers submitted will be included as source documents in the reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of papers subsequently submitted to the system. Use of the service is subject to the licensing agreement, currently between The University of Western Ontario and Turnitin.com"

Once logged in to Turnitin copy the id and pass below to the appropriate fields at the Turnitin website.

1. Login to turnitin - register if you do not have an account.

2. Join the course with the following credentials:

TA "All Students" ID: 10691701
"All Students" password: Reed