Single-Course English 10 ECTS

Chemicals in the environment

Overall Course Objectives

To provide a general basic knowledge of environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology as a fundamental basis for understanding chemical pollution problems. Tools for evaluation of environmental fate and effects of chemicals are introduced in the context of environmental management and risk assessment.

Learning Objectives

  • Define and describe fundamental concepts and terms in environmental toxicology, chemistry and risk assessment
  • Collect relevant chemical fate and effect data from the internet and handbooks/databases
  • Interpret physico-chemical data for chemicals in relation to environmental fate
  • Quantify environmental behavior using equilibrium assumptions
  • Apply simple quantitative structure activity relationships in the estimation of inherent compound properties
  • Interpret results of standardized biodegradability tests
  • Conduct laboratory ecotoxicity test with chemicals
  • Analyse data and evaluate results of ecotoxicological tests
  • Describe test results in a technical laboratory report
  • Classify and assess chemicals in accordance with regulatory guidelines for environmental risk assessment
  • Summarize and evaluate own and literature data in environmental profiles of organic chemicals

Course Content

The course deals with environmental exposure and effect assessment of organic chemicals. Exposure and effect assessments are key elements in both Danish and EU classifications and risk assessments of chemicals. The exposure assessment covers the environmental chemical fate i.e. transport, degradation, intermedia transfer and partitioning of chemicals in different parts of the environment. Here processes like biodegradation, hydrolysis, photodegradation, sorption, volatilization, and bioaccumulation are fundamental for understanding the environmental behaviour of chemicals. The processes are related to the physico-chemical and chemical structure properties and to the characteristics of the environmental compartments (water, aquatic sediments, aquatic biota, soil, and air). Calculation exercises and computer-based models for distribution of compounds are used to illustrate the environmental chemical fate. The effect assessment covers ecotoxicological effects of chemicals. This subject is taught through lectures dealing with the theoretical aspects of toxicity testing and regulatory use of toxicity data. Furthermore, collection of chemical property data and a series of theoretical and practical laboratory exercises are carried out in groups of 3 students. The laboratory exercises include standard tests for biodegradation and biological effects on different groups of organisms (e.g. bacteria, algae and crustaceans).

Recommended prerequisites

Teaching Method

Lectures, laboratory exercises in groups, computer exercises and calculation exercises


If only few student sign up for exam this may be performed as an oral exam.

Limited number of seats

Maximum: 63.

Please be aware that this course has a limited number of seats available. If there are too many applicants, a pool will be created for the remainder of the qualified applicants, and they will be selected at random. You will be informed 8 days before the start of the course, whether you have been allocated a spot.

See course in the course database.





13 weeks




DTU Lyngby Campus

Course code 12237
Course type Candidate
Semester start Week 5
Semester end Week 19
Days Mon 8-12, Thurs 13-17

15.000,00 DKK

Please note that this course has participants limitation. Read more