by Mauro Bologna
(rev. February 2011)

Contemporary world is undergoing rapid transformations that are under everybody's eyes. Transformations are taking place in many different areas, for the continuous and strong impact of the human activities modifying the natural reality, aiming at immediate advantages but frequently undertaken without a previous and accurate scientific evaluation of  medium and long-term consequences on natural equilibria and on human health. We can, therefore, identify in human activities able to transform the environment many causes of human disease.

Scientific interests of disciplines such as Pathology, Ecotoxicology, Oncology,Cancerogenesis and Preventive Medicine (among other study fields) include the study of causes of disease and the strategies to prevent biological damage.

Scientific and technological progress can easily and rapidly focus new investments toward directions promising the most advantageous industrial perspectives, with relevant profits. But the consequences of such massive interventions on the natural equilibria are often unknown and pose to Natural and Medical Science researchers big problems in the evaluation of long-term biomedical effects due to the rapid transformations that men impose to the natural environment.

Moreover, biomedical studies on such fundamental areas take place without adequate funding and often in contrast with the enormous economic interests of big industry and finance.

Therefore these basic research studies are very difficult to conduct and to complete, in particular when the goal is to react promptly, before severe damage to animal and human health may happen.

Too often, human transformations on the environment have represented a deadly danger for several forms of life and new occasions for disease and death even for humans. We can take as visible examples of such consequences the cases due to the worldwide diffusion of pesticides, defoliants and anti-parasite chemicals (like DDT) or of other apparently innocuous substances like ChloroFluoroCarbides (CFC) in spray products sold for years in the entire world.

In the first case, after the big short-term advantages of DDT use (mostly in agriculture crops) we started observing damages in the life cycles of several animals (mostly of sea birds) and some severe consequences in animal and human health (due to the once unknown carcinogenic and estrogen-like actions of DDT on mammals and with a possible implication also in human breast cancer).

In the second case, photochemical mechanisms taking place in the athmosphere in presence of CFCs led to a diminished concentration of ozone in the high atmosphere and to the formation of the so called "ozone hole" phenomenon causing part of the temperature increase of the planet and also the increase of the UV radiation reaching the earth surface and causing sunburns and skin cancer.

In synthesis, we are now certain of the fact that human interventions produce large-scale consequences (not yet fully understood) on Physical, Chemical and Biological equilibria of the planet. Prevention of the heaviest consequences of these facts necessarily implies a better scientific understanting of the facts themselves, with a deeper and quicker biological and medical research in the involved areas, feasible only with conspicuous public funding.

For these several reasons we have decided to work with the target of bringing our modest knowledge contribution in the teaching programs of Medical and Biological graduation Curriculums in the University of L'Aquila (Italy), for a better knowledge of these fundamental today's facts by biomedical professionals who ever more frequently have to face the biological  and clinical consequences of human-enforced changes in the natural environment.

Based on the mentioned concepts, the Pathology teacher who is writing (Prof. Mauro Bologna, M.D.) started in 1999 a course on Environmental Pathology, initially in the form of a seminar series and later in the form of an organic lecture course for future physicians and biologists, based on fifteen chapters finally developed into the teaching material presently downloadable from this web site (in italian). Such material is being constantly updated and revised. The english version of the full chapters is currently being produced and will be available in this website by the end of 2007.

The initiative of the Environmental Pathology Course is however part of a broader perspective of knowledge diffusion in preventive and environmental sciences including also the birth of this web site ( that took place in early 2006.

In this website we describe and update the projects developed on a non-profit basis, with the only fundamental scope of spreading knowledge and to defend human health and the efficiency of natural environment equilibria that represent the roots of life since millions and billions of years. All forms of life contribute to natural equilibria of our planet since the origin of life on Earth: humankind, however, in a little more than 200 years of industrial expansion (starting from the industrial revolution at the end of the XVIII century) succeeded in threatening such equilibria, with visible and severe consequences.

With serious research efforts and with knowledge diffusion we hope to give a valid contribution to the safety of our planet and to be able to say that in such a way "I save my planet" or at least "I am seriously involved in such a task". So, in conclusion, by studying man and nature, without pursuing private profits, and trying to diffuse scientific reasons of public and common interest, "I try to defend all forms of life on earth" and therefore, hopefully, "I save my planet".

Mauro Bologna
Professor of General Patology

Departments of
Experimental Medicine and of Basic and Applied Biology
University of L'Aquila (Italy)


February 2011

The fifteen parts of the teaching program of Environmental Pathology are listed below and have been developed with the contribute of many students over the years (1999-2007). Here we thank all the contributing students, for their enthusiastic and intelligent work.

Some contributions were more extended and are indicated by the name of the main writer, in each chapter.


(downloadable " .pdf " files are currently available only in italian; their english version is under development)

1. Human activities and environmental causes of disease.  

2. Population, urbanization, resources and wellbeing.  

3. Chemistry and environment - industrial production, fuels, vehicles and exhaust gases, the home environment.  

4. CO2 and the green-house effect; Climate; Ozone; Desertification.  

5. Waste and Recycling.  

6. Physical agents; Radiations; Traumas.  

7. Ecology; Microbiology; Infectious Diseases.  

8. Chemistry and Environmental Carcinogenesis.  

9. Immunology and allergies.  

10. Tobacco smoke and gaseous pollutants.  

11. Diet and diseases.  

12. Prions and BSE (and basic concepts of other zoonoses).  

13. SARS, a prototype for a new infectious disease.  

14. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): perspectives in agriculture and transgenic foods.  

15. What can I do, every day, to improve the situation:
consume less goods, produce less wastes, learn and teach others why and how not to smoke, to have an appropriate diet, to make physical activity, to save water, electricity and fuels, to recycle more, to teach how to recycle more, to prevent risk situations, to collect new ecocompatibility ideas and to spread them.  



An invitation is finally launched to everyone to propose new ideas in the direction of recycling, detoxifying, cleaning, energy saving, etc. for a better human environment and a wider respect for nature..


containing all the mentioned subjects do not exist to date (at least in italian, to our knowledge).

To explore such arguments, therefore, one should consult many different textbooks spanning from economy to ecology, from epidemiology to toxicology, from genetics to molecular biology and from pathology to cancerogenesis.

Knowledge progress is fast in all these fields: every year new data and new informations need to be learned.

The data collected in this website are therefore original, both for the variety of subjects included and for their level of update (indicated by the dates in each chapter).