Environmental Toxicology is the study of the effects of chemicals on human health and the environment. By applying the principles of biology and chemistry, toxicologists can study the toxic behavior of man-made and natural chemicals. Using this knowledge, toxicologists can predict where chemicals will end up in the environment and in our bodies, determine what toxic impacts chemicals have and establish exposure limits to keep us and our environment healthy. Toxicologists address constantly-changing concerns about the safety of our environment and natural resources.
Since the major covers an extremely broad range of courses and topics, graduates are in high demand in the contemporary work force. Alumni entertain a wide range of career opportunities with the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, biotechnology companies and environmental consulting firms. They are also highly sought by governmental agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), California's EPA (Cal-EPA), the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Many environmental toxicology graduates pursue medical school or graduate degrees in public health, environmental chemistry, pharmacology and forensic sciences.
Preparatory courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics provide the fundamental principles which underlie toxicology. Students in the major will learn the environmental fates and biological activities of different classes of toxic substances, and the legislative issues which arise from chemical use. Opportunities are available to develop in-depth understanding in areas of interest, including ecology, environmental chemistry, forensic science, regulatory toxicology, molecular/genetic toxicology, and biomedical toxicology. Hands-on laboratory courses and recommended internships prepare students with practical application for future careers.