Baylor University
Environmental Science
College of Arts and Sciences

Baylor > Environmental Science > Faculty and Staff > E. Spencer Williams, Ph.D.
E. Spencer Williams, Ph.D.

lg williams profile

Contact Information:
Department of Environmental Science
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97266
Waco, TX 76798-7266

Office: BSB A.430

Phone: (254) 710-3405

FAX: (254) 710-3409

Research Assistant Professor


  • Ph.D., Toxicology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

  • B.A., Biology (Chemistry minor), Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Academic and Research Interests

Modern lifestyles are made possible by advances in chemistry. These advances are accompanied by unavoidable exposures to substances and complex mixtures. However, our understanding of the magnitude and results from these exposures is poorly understood. Risk assessment is a process for making decisions about the possibility that these exposures will cause adverse health conditions. This decision-making process is also critically important for contaminated sites and commercial products.

Dr. Williams is an experienced toxicologist, specializing in multi-pathway risk assessment for human health. He serves as the Chair of SETAC's Human Health Risk Assessment Advisory Group, and as a member of the Public Outreach Committee. Recently, Dr. Williams was invited to participate in a Dialogue Group within the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, which will provide a scientific perspective to Congress on the current proposals to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Current Projects include:

  1. American Cleaning Institute: ACI has selected Dr. Williams to perform a human health risk assessment for the chemical ingredients present in their products. This exercise has included gathering of all publicly-available hazard data and creating a database. Read-across and other creative approaches were used to address gaps in scientific knowledge in many instances.
  2. Sustainable Molecular Design: Dr. Williams is a member of the Molecular Design Research Network (MoDRN), a collaborative effort between Baylor, Yale, University of Washington, and George Washington University to develop chemical design guidelines that will minimize environmental hazard.
  3. Environmental Lead Exposure: Dr. Williams is the founder of the WHEEL (Waco Human Environmental Exposure to Lead) Initiative, a coalition of community organizations and stakeholders to enable public outreach, intervention, and research.
  4. Bioaccumulation of Persistent Organic Compounds: A group of Baylor University scientists have undertaken a study of bioaccumulation of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and –furans near the San Jacinto River Waste Pits Superfund site in the upper Houston Ship Channel complex. Dr. Williams was responsible for characterization of the food web adjacent to the site and development of risk estimates for consumption of edible fish and shellfish in that region.
  5. Coal-Tar-Based Pavement Sealants: These products are an important source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in surrounding environments. In collaboration with the USGS, Dr. Williams has determined that these sealants are an important source of PAH exposure for children in affected environments, and may create excess cancer risk for persons who live in these areas.

Teaching Activity

  • ENV 3100: Seminar in Environmental Health Sciences (undergraduate)

    • Spring 2013. Co-instructor: Bryan W. Brooks

  • ENV 3314: Introduction to Environmental Health (undergraduate)

    • Spring 2014. Co-instructor: Erica D. Bruce

    • Spring 2013. Co-instructor: Bryan W. Brooks

    • Fall 2012. Co-instructor: Erica D. Bruce

  • ENV 4344: Fundamental of Toxicology (graduates and undergraduates)

    • Spring 2014. Co-instructor: Cole Matson

    • Fall 2013. Co-instructor: Bryan W. Brooks

  • ENV 4V50: Environmental Epidemiology (undergraduates)

    • Spring 2014.

  • ENV 5302: Foundations of Environmental Health Science (graduate - required for MPH – CHE students)

    • Fall 2012. Co-instructor: Bryan W. Brooks