Module 4: Environmental Pollutants

Date of release/last update: created 07-04-2016, last version 17-02-2017


  • Dana Perniu and Ileana Manciulea (UTBv) - Gaseous pollutants
  • Marie Voprsalova (CUNI) - Heavy metals
  • Ileana Manciulea and Lucia Dumitrescu (UTBv) - Persistent Organic Pollutants
  • Lubomir Simeonov and Yordan Simeonov (SRTI) - Pesticides

Short descriptions

The aim of this module is to describe the impact of some pollutants (gaseous pollutants, persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals and pesticides) on the human health, as well as on the environment 

Intended learning outcomes        

Students will be able:

  • to identify sources of toxic agents
  • to explain the mechanism of action
  • to interpret the fate of toxic agents in the organism
  • to recommend the biological material for the laboratory determination
  • to distinguish acute and chronic intoxications
  • to compare the use of  antidotes,chelating agents during intoxications
  • to predict and estimate  risks on the human health

Module structures (topics)          

4.1 Gaseous pollutants (1 ECTS)

  • Sources of gaseous pollutants in urban atmosphere
  • Gaseous pollutants transport in urban atmosphere
  • Indoor pollution

4.2 Heavy metals (1 ECTS)

Metals of a great public health significance

  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Arsenic (including arsine)

Other metals with multiple effects

  • Chromium
  • Copper
  • Nickel
  • Zinc
  • Aluminium
  • Iron

4.3 Persistent Organic Pollutants (1 ECTS)

Persistent Organic Pollutants - Introduction

  • Short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs)
  • Pentachlorophenol (PCP)
  • Hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs)
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
  • Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/ PCDF)

4.4 Pesticides I (2 ECTS)

Historical Issues in the Pesticide Application and Related Pollution

  • Significance of the Pesticides; Application Areas
  • Hazardous Pesticides
  • Pollution of Environmental Media, Paths and Distribution
  • Environmental Concerns, Ecotoxicology
  • Human Health Concerns
  • Vulnerable groups of population;
  • Acute and Chronic Exposure to Pesticides;
  • Adverse effects: Allergies, Hypersensitivity, Developmental and Cancerogenic Effects, Damage to the Central and Peripheral Nervous System, Reproductive Disorders, Disruption of the Hormonal and the Endocrine Systems, etc.

4.5 Pesticides II (2 ECTS)

General Issues and Definitions

  • Risk Assessment and Management
  • Sampling and Analysis ( Planning, Procedures, Technologies)
  • Technologies for Elimination and Destruction (Evaluation and Comparison)
  • Conclusions and Recommendations 
International awareness rising and impact
  • Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”
  • Review of International Agreements
  • The Basel Convention
  • The Rotterdam Convention
  • The Stockholm Convention
  • The “Dirty Dozen” of POPs
  • Limits and Bans of Production and Application of Certain POPs/Pesticides - Historical Overview and Contemporary Status
Environmental Security
  • Military Applications of POPs/Pesticides
  • Transboundary Pollution
  • Organic Arsenicals, Dioxin
  • Agent Orange and Agent Blue
  • Integrated Pest Control (IPC), Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
  • Biological Pesticides, Advantages and drawbacks
Pesticide Legislation and Registration
  • General Approaches and Procedures 
  • Pesticide Production, Import, Export, Lists of Producers, Companies, Suppliers, Trade and Distribution, Packing and Labeling, Transport, Storage and Disposal, Application
  • Personnel Training Requirements, Licensing
  • Identification of responsible authorities for Pesticide Regulation and Laws
International Organizations - WHO, FAO, UNEP, USEPA, IARC, etc.
  • Specialised Websites on POPs/Pesticides
  • Specialised Programs (PESTIDOC, PAN Pesticide, SAFEFOODNET, etc.).
  • Bibliography
  • Glossary 

Estimated workload

7 ECTS: 192 hours


Mainly High Education Students and Doctoral Students in Environmental Sciences, Health Sciences (Medicine, Chemistry, etc.), Students in the health professions, physicians, hygienists 

Available languages          

English as basic language; the other project partner languages in translation, subtitles etc.