Jamie Baxter   Jamie Baxter
Associate Professor - UWO Geography

Geography 3432 - Environmental Hazards and Human Health

Owl Sakai
Assignment 1
Assignment 2
Critical Appraisal
HOME | Research | Publications | Education | 2152 | 3432 | 9108 | 9300 | Marking | GEOGRAPHY
Environmental Hazards and Human Health

This syllabus is "dynamic", it will change throughout the term. Though the basic structure of the course (e.g., weighting of evaluation components) will not change, topics and readings may need adjusting along the way. Please return to this section for important updates.

2 lecture hours, 1 tutorial hour, half course, Fall term


none (but Geog 2153, and Geog 3250 are assets)

Always refresh this page each visit to ensure you are seeing up-to-date information.


April 7/14
Looking for a Spring course in Geography? - Your TA, Tor Oiamo is teaching Geog 2153 - Environment Economy and Society this spring!  Details here: http://geography.uwo.ca/undergrad/courses/Summer2014.html

Mar. 25/14
Assignment 2 due date extension - As I suggested in class last week I am extending the due date for assignment to Monday April 7, 10am at my office SSC 1407 (slide it under there door if there is no box).  I am looking forward to seeing everybody's mark go up - do a good job!  If you have questions about the assignment see Tor (will grade the papers), Emmanuel or myself.

Mar. 19/14
Make-up exam slots - This is a message from the Geography Dept. "I just wanted to let you know that I organized three makeups for this term as follows:
1. Thu Apr 17, 9:00 am, SSC 1059
2. Thu Apr 24, 9:00 am, SSC 1059
3. Thu May 1st, 9:00 am, SSC 1059
If you have students who missed the final and got a special exam form from their counselors they can write on any of these dates."  If you need to write a make-up get permission and please notify me as well by email.

Feb. 11/14
Turnitin - The Turnitin student enrollment information is in the table below

Jan. 1/14
Welcome - The class appears to be full at 50 students. The first class will provide overview to help you determine if the class indeed fits your needs.
No Tutorial in week 1 - they will start in week 2.  See the schedule below.
Owl Sakai - Owl will be used to post grades and readings. For news come here (the course syllabus page).  That is,  I will use this news section (the one you are looking at now, right here) to post important information. So come back to this page often.


Calendar 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.

Contact Information

Instructor/TA Room Email Office Hour
Jamie Baxter SSC 1407 jamie.baxter@uwo.ca

Timetable and Turnitin Information

Once logged in to Turnitin copy the id and pass from the table below (for YOUR TA) to the appropriate fields at the Turnitin website. The user id does not get copied when you click the link. If you are not registered with Turnitin, you will have to do that first.  Click either Turnitin ID link below to get started.
Lect/Tut Day Duration Start Time End Time Room Instructor/TA Turnitin ID Turnitin Pass
Lecture   2hrs       Jamie Baxter    
Tutorial 1   1hr      
Tutorial 2 1hr


Component Weight
Participation (tutorial 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.


Weight: 20%
Duration: 1.5 hours
Possible Format: mixed, all answers on exam paper.

  1. Multiple choice and true/false - 20
    MC usually 1 of 5 choices (a - e)
    NOT scantron, circle on exam paper
    no "correction factor" (i.e., NO subtraction of incorrect answers from correct answers)

  2. Definitions

  3. Short Answer

Material Covered:
All lectures and readings up until the end of the class immediately prior to the midterm date. The focus will be on lectures, but the readings typically overlap the lectures considerably. Generally speaking you do not have to know specifics like who said what in what year for the multiple choice, but it could not hurt to know some of the more important figures mentioned in class to round out your definitions and short answer.

Final Exam

Weight: 35%
Duration: 3 hours
Format: mixed, all answers on exam paper. (100 marks)

  1. Multiple choice and true/false - (15 marks)
    - MC usually 1 of 5 choices (a - e)
    - NOT scantron, circle on exam paper
    - no "correction factor" (i.e., NO subtraction of incorrect answers from correct answers)

  2. Definitions
  3. (25 marks)
    - 5 marks ea.
    - choice - you will choose 5 from at least 7
    - identify what the thing is, why it is important, how it relates to other things in environment and health research and provide an example(s)
    - I have been told by students that I, "expect a lot in a definition". I agree.
    - only those definitions that include an example will receive full marks
    - space - use only the space provided - approximately 1/5 of a page

  4. Short Answer
  5. (30 marks)
    - 10 marks ea.
    - choice - you will choose 3 from at least 5
    - address the question directly and include at least one example
    - examples- only those short answers that include at least one example will receive full marks
    space - use only the space provided - approximately 1/3 of a page

  6. Essay
  7. (30 marks)
    - choice - you will choose 1 from 2
    - address the question directly and include examples
    - space - use only the space provided - approximately 2 1/2 pages
    - outline - though there are no marks explicitly awarded for this, sketch an outline on the extra sheet of paper provided (back of last page)

Material Covered:
All lectures and readings since the midterm date. You are also responsible for material you might use in an essay answer. That is, the essay question will be quite general and will allow you to draw on material from the entire course. The focus will be on lectures, but the readings typically overlap the lectures considerably. Generally speaking you do not have to know specifics like who said what in what year for the multiple choice, but it could not hurt to know some of the more important figures mentioned in class to round out your definitions and short answer.


Course Text:

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

Other readings will be made available via the links in the schedule and/or WebCT Owl

Lecture Schedule

Date Topic Reading
  Scope of Course None
  Introduction - Key Concepts
Moeller Ch 1
  Measuring Health-Environment Links: Toxicology
Discussion Assignment 1
Moeller Ch 2
  Measuring Health-Environment Links: Epidemiology Moeller Ch 3
  Contaminants in Air Moeller Ch 5
  Risk Assessment and Management
Assignment 1 Due 
  Built Environment and Health I
Discussion Assignment 2
Frank et al. Chs. 1 & 3
  Built Environment and Health II Putnam (2000) Chs. 1 & 20
  Environmental Equity and Policy Cutter 1995
  Environment and Health and the Media
Course instructor evaluation
Beseley and Shanahan 2004
  Video - Nature of Things - Playing with Poison (examinable)
Assignment 2 Due (extended to Monday: see news)
Guillette et al. (1998)

  Review - Baxter away at Geography Conference  

Tutorial Format Schedule

Here is the class list as student numbers divided into the two tutorials sessions (pending).

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
No Tutorial none  
Introduction and ice-breaker, signup for tutorial facilitation none  
Epidemiology in Contaminated Communities
Case Study: Love Canal
Heath et al. (1984) Bari Kolata (1980) Holden (1980) Shaista
  Water Contamination by Pathogens
Case Study: Walkerton
Hrudey et al. (2003), Parr (2005) Daniel
  Limits to Epidemiology Taubes (1995), Taubes (1997) Renu
Erica B.
  Built Environment and health (obesity):
Case Studies: USA vs Canada
Morland and Evenson (2009)
Seliske et al. (2009)
  Built Environment and Health (social capital)
Case Studies: Wales and Ireland
Araya (2006)
Leyden (2003)
  Environmental Equity
Case Study: England and Wales
Wheeler (2004) Olivia
Erica O.
  Pesticides and health
Case Study: Mexico
Guillette et al. (1998) Melissa

And now some messages from our lawyers (same as on assignments page)...

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:
For a full set of regulations please visit this website: http://www.uwo.ca/univsec/handbook/exam/crsout.pdf"

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 univerisity 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"

  s Copyright: This material is for students registered in this class. Others, particularly instructors, please do not use without permission.