Chemicals and Health

This course covers chemicals in our environment and in our bodies and how they impact our health. It addresses policies and practices related to chemicals, particularly related to how they get into our bodies (exposures), what they do when they get there (toxicology), how we measure them (biomonitoring) and their impact on our health.

About The Course

Chemicals make up every part of us! Some chemicals are vital to our health, while others may be harmful. This course focuses on the potentially harmful effects of some of the many chemicals we encounter every day, with particular attention to measuring our exposures to these chemicals.

While personal care products, food packaging and other consumer conveniences have greatly improved our quality of life, they have also introduced the opportunity for exposures to many new and not-well-understood chemicals. Studies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, confirm that widely-used chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and flame retardants are routinely found in human blood or urine.

At the end of this course, students will better understand chemicals in the environment, exposure, toxicology, biomonitoring, and related public health and policy implications.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?
  • Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructor.

  • What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?
  • In addition to hearing from some of the leading figures in environmental health in the US, this course aims to help you think more critically about claims related to chemicals and health.

  • How do I sign up?
  • Select an available session from the drop-down menu above and then click Join for Free or Earn a Verified Certificate. 

  • When are the video lectures available?
  • New lectures are added weekly, and posted lectures remain available throughout the remaining duration of the course. 

  • How does peer-grading work?
  • All learners who complete a given writing assignment are automatically assigned the task of evaluating and grading four submissions from their fellow classmates. A rubric is provided to guide evaluation and grading. Assignment grades are based on the grades assigned by your peers.

    Recommended Background

    No background is required; all are welcome!

    Note that the course will be taught at the college level and assumes a basic knowledge of biology and chemistry.