AACCS Environmental Science Questions

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Instructions below, *please include an outline as well*

What is a policy paper?

  • They state explicitly the policy problem or aspect of a policy problem the paper addresses.
  • They are explicit about methodologies, limitations and weaknesses.
  • The authors have made a serious attempt to minimize their own biases in both methodology and interpretation. Scientists can be advocates, or they can provide the best possible balanced assessment of the evidence but they cannot do both simultaneously.
  • Since the policy process tends to be very fast, papers must be timely.
  • Remembering that the audience may be intelligent laypeople authors should apply the aphorism attributed to Einstein; be as simple as possible (but no simpler) in methods and language.
  • Describing the problem that needs resolving is only useful until the description is clear, and policymakers understand there needs to be action.
  • Don’t feel the need to spell out policy implications.

Students will consider environmental issues of importance to Tampa, Florida and the Gulf Coast region from the point of view of a government agency tasked with regulating toxicant exposure limits (if applicable) in the environment. This approach will not be appropriate for every issue; there are a lot of problems facing Florida that do not directly involve chemical releases. If your topic is a practice that is detrimental to the environment in Tampa or the Gulf Coast, then you will use the same basic approach (from the perspective of a regulatory body). Policy papers should “dig deeper” into the issues introduced in class material, particularly with respect to the scientific data found in the primary literature.

How do you pick a topic?

  • What are environmental problems in the Tampa Bay area?
  • They need not be completely anthropogenic. Some seemingly environmental issues will have an anthropogenic component.
  • Think about the things that affect your quality of life. The things that affect your future profession. Things that affect the ecosystem.
  • If you are unable to come up with a topic that is specific to Tampa Bay, you can widen your focus to include the tri-county area (Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas). Still nothing? All of Florida…then the Gulf Coast, Southeast and US.

Suggested Topics include:

  • What’s in my water bottle?
  • Mercury in Fish, small animals, Florida panthers, etc.
  • Heavy metals in drinking water
  • Fate of Toxic Releases
  • Gypsum Stacks
  • Pesticides and Migrant Workers
  • Atrazine and Water Quality
  • CAFO Contamination
  • Tampa Bay Pollution
  • Habitat destruction and indicator species
  • No longer fond of the pond
  • PCBs
  • On a clear day you still can’t see forever
  • PAHs
  • PFOS
  • Lead
  • TCE
  • Red Tide
  • HABs

Technical Requirements:

  • Double-spaced, 12 point Times New Roman font, 1” margins
  • 5 to 7 pages in length
  • Correct grammar, spelling, sentence structure, etc.
  • References should be cited using APA formatting.
  • Submit individual pieces (topic, outline, and final draft) to correct links in Assignments. This uploads your paper to TurnItIn, a plagiarism detection device. See plagiarism information under Institutional Policies.

If your issue is exposure to a chemical or biological pollutant, see below:

Content Requirements:

  • Summary of the issue (1-2 paragraphs)
  • Brief summary of the debate surrounding the issue, including the pros and cons (1-2 paragraphs)
  • Brief summary of the relevant toxicological information for the specific chemical(s) involved including: (1-2 paragraphs)
  • Structure of compound
  • How exposure occurs
  • ADME processes
  • Analysis of the available scientific data regarding the effects of the specific chemical(s) (citing at least five sources from the primary literature not cited in the presentation) including: (1-2 pages)
  • What types of studies have been done regarding the toxicity of the compound?
  • What model systems have been used?
  • Do you think these models are valid? Why or why not?
  • What types of toxicities result from exposure to this compound?
  • What organ systems are affected?
  • Is the molecular mechanism known? If so, what is it?
  • Is the compound known to be carcinogenic?
  • Recommended regulatory actions including: (1-2 pages)
  • Based on your evaluation of the available data, would you permit exposure to this chemical? Why or why not?
  • If you would, what exposure levels would you permit?
  • Would these limits be the same for all populations? Why or why not?
  • Are further experiments necessary?
  • If so, what types of studies should be done?
  • If the case study chosen describes an incident more than 20 years old, include information on how regulatory agencies have modified their response in the elapsed time.

If your issue cannot be described as exposure to a chemical or biological pollutant, you can use a modified version of the list. For example, perhaps your issue is noise pollution.

Content Requirements:

  • Summary of the issue (1-2 paragraphs)
  • Brief summary of the debate surrounding the issue, including the pros and cons (1-2 paragraphs) * although few people will be described as pro-noise, they might oppose restrictive limits on industry or have other safety concerns.
  • Brief summary of the relevant information for the kind of noise including: (1-2 paragraphs)
  • Occupational exposure
  • Environmental exposure
  • Device driven exposure
  • Analysis of the available scientific data regarding the effects of noise (citing at least five sources from the primary literature not cited in the presentation) including: (1-2 pages)
  • What types of studies have been done regarding the dangers posed by exposure?
  • What model systems have been used?
  • Do you think these models are valid? Why or why not?
  • What types of damage result from exposure to this compound?
  • What organ systems are affected?
  • Is the molecular mechanism known? If so, what is it?
  • Is noise carcinogenic?
  • Recommended regulatory actions including: (1-2 pages)
  • Based on your evaluation of the available data, would you permit exposure to noise? Why or why not?
  • If you would, what exposure levels would you permit?
  • Would these limits be the same for all populations? Why or why not?
  • Are further experiments necessary?
  • If so, what types of studies should be done?
  • If the case study chosen describes an incident more than 20 years old, include information on how regulatory agencies have modified their response in the elapsed time.
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