Environmental Chemistry Demystified™

Practical and applied environmental chemistry for environmental professionals!

The Environmental Chemistry Demystified™ course, developed by Dr. Denise Turner, does not require attendees to have any background in chemistry. Dr. Turner and William Spain have taught this course for nearly 20 years. Drawing on more than 50 years combined field expertise with chemicals, these two instructors provide simple, straightforward explanations of the chemistry behind important environmental topics.

Case studies and real-world examples are used throughout the course to make the chemistry of everyday life, both at home and at work, more understandable.

What’s covered in the course?

Attending this course will improve your ability to comprehend key data found in material safety data sheets, laboratory analytical reports, and environmental assessments.

Topics Covered Include:

  • Material safety data sheets
  • Chemical compatibility/reactivity
  • Organic compounds
  • Metals
  • Sampling and analysis
  • Chemical reactions, when and why they occur
  • Waste treatment
  • Nuclear chemistry and radioactivity
  • Chemical measurements (metric units, PPM, PPB)
  • Climate change/global warming/global dimming
  • Ozone depletion/smog/acid rain/NOx
  • Biofuels/fossil fuels/nuclear power
  • Biomagnification/bioaccumulation
  • Wastewater treatment
  • PCBs, CFCs, DDT, dioxins, halogenated solvents
  • The Pacific Garbage Patch/Gulf of Mexico dead zone
  • The potential hazards of plastics

Our Continuing Education Matrix provides a summary of current professional certification credits, maintenance points, and CEUs awarded for Institute courses.

Course Agendas are subject to change

Day One

  • Defining and Understanding Matter
  • The Periodic Table
  • Metric Measurement
  • Nuclear Chemistry
  • Structure and Bonding
  • Inorganic Chemistry

Day Two

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Chemistry of Water
  • Biological Chemistry
  • The Chemistry Behind MSDS
  • MSDS Case Study
  • Chemical Compatibility
  • Organic Nomenclature
  • Chemical Reactions and Physical Treatment Process
  • Sampling and Analysis

A. Denise Turner, Ph.D. has more than sixteen years experience in environmental consulting, training, biomedical product development, and research. She currently manages her own environmental consulting business working in the U.S. and Europe in product development, training, and technical oversight.

Prior to May 1996, she worked at RMCI, where she played a key role in training and business development. She also supported a 32-million dollar FAA Southern Region contract dealing with a broad range of environmental issues, including environmental audits, PCBs, emergency preparedness, asbestos, lead-based paint, and underground storage tanks. In addition to her technical and program management expertise, Dr. Turner’s environmental experience also includes managing the multimillion dollar contract workload of EPA Region 4 for A.T. Kearney, in which she conducted more than 250 RCRA Facility Assessments (RFAs) and reviews of RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) work plans and reports. She has participated in risk assessments for EPA Regions 2 and 4, as well as reviewing Boiler and Industrial Furnace (BIF) permit applications for EPA.

Dr. Turner’s commercial consulting experience includes the development of a national safety program for an international paper company, as well as conducting a complete management/safety audit of a major U.S. nonprofit organization struggling with increased OSHA and FDA regulation. She has also played key roles in numerous business proposals, which were awarded more than 250 million dollars in consulting contracts.

Dr. Turner has taught for Duke University, the University of Maryland, and Troy State University, as well as presenting more than 100 national workshops and training seminars in environmental chemistry, RCRA orientation, RCRA updates, environmental assessments, permit writing, and the identification of RCRA-regulated hazardous wastes. She has produced two biomedical patents and six publications in the “Journal of the American Chemical Society”, “Biochemistry”, the “Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences”, “The British Journal of Phytotherapy”, and “Thrombosis and Haemostasis”. She also lectures for Government Institutes, the Environmental Institute, and Emory University. She is currently writing three technical books on environmental chemistry, phytochemistry, and phytopharmaceuticals.


William H. Spain has more than 32 years experience consulting, teaching, publishing, research, regulatory compliance, and technical management in occupational health and environmental science. He has worked for large corporations, the Federal Government, an engineering university, a national consulting/analytical/training corporation, and now a state government. This experience helps Mr. Spain understand and share the technical and other aspects of these professional fields from many different points of view.

Mr. Spain’s current regular employment is as Unit Coordinator for Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division. He heads the Compliance and Enforcement Unit for the Lead-Based Paint and Asbestos Program. Prior to this he spent 11 years managing and directing divisions of an environmental consulting, analytical, and training firm. He was the National Director of The Environmental Institute for 10 years. In this capacity he directed and taught in more than 1500 environmental courses throughout the United States and the Western World. The courses included asbestos, lead, environmental chemistry, respirators, HAZWOPER, environmental site assessments, and others. Before this, he was Director of the Continuing Education and Publications Office for the Environmental Safety and Health Division at Georgia Institute of Technology/GTRI. There he helped develop and present hundreds of environmental and occupational health course offerings nationally and internationally.

While at The Environmental Institute and Georgia Tech he helped write 5 Model Courses for U.S. EPA. He has helped teach courses for University of Indiana, Tufts University, Emory University, Georgia State University, Texas A&M, The Institute for Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences, The OSHA Training Institute, and Georgia Tech. Prior to his Georgia Tech employment, he worked for the U.S. Department of Labor/OSHA for nearly 7 years. He progressed from a GS 9 Field Industrial Hygienist, to a State Monitor Industrial Hygienist, to a Technical Support Industrial Hygienist, and then to a GS 13 Industrial Hygiene Supervisor working in their Saint Louis, Birmingham, and Raleigh area offices and Atlanta Regional Office. Mr. Spain’s first full time employment was as an Industrial Hygienist in the Medical Department of McDonnell Douglas Corporation in Saint Louis. There he acquired valuable experience in air monitoring, noise measurement and control, respirators, medical investigations, and other Industrial Hygiene activities.

Mr. Spain has dozens of refereed publications in sources such as the American Industrial Hygiene Journal, the National Asbestos Council Journal, Occupational Health and Safety Magazine, and Pediatrics. He was Technical Advisor and Assistant Editor for Occupational Safety and Health Magazine for 5 years. He is the co-author of two published book chapters. He has a Magna Cum Laude joint B. I. S. Degree in Chemistry/Management/Communications from Georgia State University. He performed Industrial Hygiene Internship at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory/University of California.