The consumption of contaminated water sources is one of the leading causes of death in many areas of the world. In the United States and other countries with a well-developed infrastructure, these deaths and illnesses are minimized due to water treatment. Even with this sanitization of the water that people access, there are still instances in the United States where humans have become sick due to their interactions with water from the relatively mundane such as coliform in well water to the contamination of an entire public water supply in Flint, Michigan. This unit aims to gather case studies and synthesize them into a cohesive series of lessons that is both engaging and educational.
One of the courses I teach in the health science curriculum of our school contains a unit on investigating the connections between environmental health and the health of the people who live there. Personally, I find this unit difficult to get through--- not because the material is especially difficult, but because the way it is presented is dreadfully boring. It is the weak link in an otherwise strong curriculum with the way that it is currently set up. This is a shame, since the topic is actually quite interesting-- there are numerous case studies of the impact that contaminated water can have on humans.
This unit is set up so that teachers can select the case studies based on their own needs, time frame, and course of study. Each section contains a summary of the introduction of the contaminant into the water shed, its impact on humans, and treatments that can be used to fix both the patient and remediate the water supply.