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Environmental Health Science Feature Articles

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Three maps from the USGS water-quality tracking tool

New Online Tool Tracks Water Quality in the Nation's Rivers and Streams

A new online graphical data tool that provides annual summaries of nutrient and sediment concentrations and loads and streamflow information is now available from the USGS. ...

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Black-capped chickadee with beak deformity

Environmental Contaminants and Beak Deformities in Alaskan Chickadees

A recent study by the USGS provides some of the first environmental contaminants data for a species of passerine bird (perching birds) in Alaska but leaves unanswered questions as to the cause of beak abnormalities found in this species. ...

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Photo showing the installation of a sealed domestic well cap and monitoring instruments

Public Perception Impedes Prevention of Arsenic Exposure

One of the biggest challenges in preventing arsenic exposure from drinking water may be public perception, according to a recent special section of Science of the Total Environment. In this special section of 13 papers report on new understanding of arsenic hydrogeochemistry, performance of household well water treatment systems, and testing and treatment behaviors of well users ...

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Scientist holding an adult Pacific lamprey

Pesticides, Flame Retardants, and Mercury in Tissues from Columbia Basin Pacific Lamprey

Pesticides, flame retardants, and mercury were present in Pacific lampreys (Entosphenus tridentatus) at levels that may be contributing to their overall decline in the Columbia River Basin. ...

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USGS scientists collecting a water-quality sample

Federal and State Partnerships Advance Understanding of Contaminants in a Human-Health Context

Partnerships between the USGS and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) enhance the State's ability to evaluate human-health risks from chemicals of concern (CECs). ...

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Girl drinking water

Groundwater Quality in Principal Aquifers of the United States, 1991—2010

A new USGS report summarizes the major findings of national and regional assessments of groundwater quality in 40 Principal Aquifers in the United States. ...

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Electron micrograph of channel catfish macrophages - 42TA cell line

Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) White Blood Cells are Functionally Modulated by Estrogens

Estrogens are recognized as modulators of immune responses in mammals, but how these effects might occur in fish was not understood. USGS scientists published findings that fish white blood cells (leukocytes) have specific estrogen receptors (ERs)—a discovery that moves scientists one step closer to understanding the connection between exposure to estrogenic substances and disease susceptibility in fish. ...

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USGS scientist takes a sample from a northern pintail duck

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza Detected for the First Time in Wild Birds in North America

Scientists from the USGS are helping to track the movement of three strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (HPAIV) in wild birds. HPAI viruses are a concern as they are very pathogenic to poultry and some species of wild birds such as raptors. Infection can result in significant mortality of poultry and impact international trade of poultry products. In addition, ...

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USGS scientist sampling a public-supply well

Public-Supply Well Pumping Regimes Influence Quality of Water Produced

USGS scientists studying the vulnerability of public-supply wells to contamination have identified ways in which the seasonal operation of public-supply wells can affect the quality of water that they produce.  By incorporating historical water-quality data into models of ...

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Photo on top has healthy sea stars. Photo on bottom is a sick one

Densovirus Calculated as Culprit Killing Sea Stars

A prime suspect has been identified as a probable cause of the "Sea Star Wasting Disease," a mysterious epidemic that has been killing these animals in droves along the U.S. and Canadian Pacific Coast. ...

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USGS sampling truck with equipment used to sample well water. A scientist is in the truck

Commonly Used Chemicals Measured in Minnesota Groundwater

A team of USGS and Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MCPA) scientists measured 127 organic chemicals in groundwater underlying urbanized areas in Minnesota. These chemicals include ones commonly used and consumed in our daily lives, in products such as human–use and veterinary pharmaceuticals, fragrances, surfactants, plastic components, and fire retardants. The chemicals are often called "chemicals of emerging environmental concern" because the risk to ...

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Three technicians operating a drill rig

Arsenic in Minnesota Groundwater

USGS and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) scientists are assessing the distribution of arsenic in groundwater in Minnesota. Naturally occurring arsenic is common in groundwater in Minnesota. About ...

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Map of the United States with symbols indicating which aquifers had increases or no change

Small Decadal–Scale Changes in Pesticides in Groundwater

USGS scientists have completed the most comprehensive evaluation to date (2014) of decadal–scale changes in pesticide concentrations in groundwater of the United States. Such assessments are essential for tracking long–term responses to changes in pesticide use and land–management practices. ...

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Two pie charts. Left one - percent type of benchmark. Right one – percent chemical class

USGS Health-Based Screening Levels Available Online

A U.S. Geological Survey USGS Health-Based Screening Level (HBSL) Web site includes human-health benchmarks for 351 contaminants (79 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), 117 EPA Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides (HHBPs), and 155 USGS HBSLs). The Web site also provides ...

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Road damage caused by flooding

Disasters and Environmental Health

USGS scientists are focusing on new efforts to help protect human and environmental health during disasters. Two papers published recently summarize important characteristics of materials released into the environment by natural and anthropogenic disasters, such as ...

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Latham River at Jekyll Island State Park, Georgia

Nutrient Inputs to the Nation's Estuaries and Great Lakes

Maps and data tables that describe nutrient loading to major estuaries throughout the conterminous United States are now available ...

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View of forest stream with inset of human ear with chiclero's ulcer

Does Biodiversity Protect Humans Against Infectious Disease?

Might biodiversity be healthy for the ecosystem and also protect people against infectious diseases? While most disease ecologists would say yes, a new study published in Ecology presents data suggesting that the balance between biodiversity and infectious disease is more complicated. ...

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Dead bald eagle

Winter Eagle Deaths at Great Salt Lake due to West Nile Virus

Scientists from the USGS diagnosed West Nile Virus (WNV) in numerous eared grebes and bald eagles that died in a 2013 mortality event in the Great Salt Lake. Diagnoses were based on findings during pathological analysis to ...

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Wing of a bat in UV light with orange-yellow fluorescence spots

Black-Light Detects White-Nose Syndrome in Bats

USGS scientists and collaborators discovered that long-wave ultraviolet (UV) light directed at the wings of bats with white-nose syndrome (WNS) produced points of distinctive orange-yellow fluorescence. The orange-yellow glow corresponds directly with microscopic skin lesions that ...

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Underwater photo of a Sea urchin - Tripneustes gratilla

Sea Urchin Mortality in the Hawaiian Islands

Scientists from the USGS, University of Hawaii, the State of Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources, and The Nature Conservancy are investigating unusual mortality of collector urchins (Tripneustes gratilla) that has been ongoing since February 2014. As grazers, urchins play a critical role ...

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Page Last Modified: August 05 2015 15:29:25