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Environmental Health and Toxicology

Microplastics in the Environment

Environmental Health & Toxicology

Air, water, and soil pollution damages ecosystems and harms human health. People exposed to environmental contaminants such as industrial chemicals, heavy metals, and pesticides can develop conditions such as cancer, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Exposure to toxins can also cause neurological problems, damage the immune and reproductive systems, and impact children's development. Toxic substances in the environment typically have the most significant impacts on the poor and most vulnerable in society. This group studies the effects of environmental toxins and creates strategies to promote health and social justice. 

Our Programs and Faculty

Related Degrees and Certifications

Faculty and Staff

  • Laura Brentner
  • Justin Harbinson
  • Tim O'Brien
  • Greg Palmer
  • Federico Sinche
  • Yanning Wei


At SES, students will have access to a multitude of facilities and resources. Facilities specific to this sustainability and toxicology include:

  • Analytical Chemistry Lab
  • Culture Lab
  • GIS Lab
  • Greenhouse
  • Research Labs
  • STEP Labs

Learn more about the SES Facilities.

Community Impact

student in lab pours cooking oil into large drum

Researching Microplastics

Loyola graduate student Jenna Molaro, focuses on microplastics and why microplastics are such a big issue and how her time at SES has benefitted her research.

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Nora Hartnett
Student Research

Studying Smoke and Air Pollution in the Chicago Area

Loyola graduate student Nora Hartnett is investigating how fires across North America impact air pollution levels in the Chicago area. Her findings could inform new strategies for improving air quality and human health.

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George McGraw works with student
Alumni Story

Opening the floodgates

More than a million Americans don’t have access to clean running water. George McGraw (BA ’09) has a plan to change that.

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Student Research Opportunities

Undergraduate Research Fellowships

SES Undergraduate Research Fellowships allow students to conduct interdisciplinary research on issues related to unsustainable natural resource uses in the greater Chicago land region.

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Graduate Student Opportunities

Graduate students have an opportunity to apply as an Alfred H. Baum Family Graduate Research Scholar to fund and explore the impact of toxins in the environment on natural ecosystems and humans.

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Student Internships and Jobs

The School of Environmental Sustainability provides hands-on internship opportunities for students to get deeply involved in our environmental initiatives.

Our Focus Areas