Curriculum

Toxic Substances & Hazardous Wastes

B763 is taught by J. Simmons

This course covers the environmental laws that regulate toxic substances, that is, chemicals and wastes, which have long-term deleterious health effects even at very low levels of exposure. Real life examples of current toxic regulatory issues will be addressed including the regulation of PCB's, PFOA's (contained in Teflon), diacetyl (a food ingredient) and others will be discussed. We begin with the basic science of toxic substances and their effects, and the fundamentals of risk-based regulation. We will discuss concepts of risk assessment, no adverse effect levels, toxicology, epidemiology, and how those scientific principles have been integrated into the regulatory process. We next examine the various approaches to toxics regulation that are found in statutes whose primary target is conventional pollutants. These form the background for the four principal statutes that govern the life cycle of toxic substances: TSCA (manufacture, import or use of industrial chemicals), FIFRA (sale and use of pesticides), RCRA (treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste), and CERCLA (Superfund) (clean-up of abandoned waste sites). Finally, we will study emerging trends in toxics regulation, and how the EU and other countries have advanced to regulation of toxics in products and how these new product conformance laws and regulations are being adopted by some states in the US. Finally we will study the various ways that popular opinion about public health policy has shaped some environmental statutes such as right-to-know and environmental justice legislation. The primary text is Applegate, Laitos & Campbell-Mohn, The Regulation of Toxic Substances and Hazardous Wastes (2000).