Contaminant Biology

Health Risks

Filter Total Items: 70
Date published: June 1, 2021
Status: Active

Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Integrated Science Team

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are a large group of synthetic chemicals utilized for diverse applications including non-stick coatings, industrial lubricants, fire retardants in clothing and home goods, and as fire suppressors in firefighting foams. Due to the wide variety of PFAS uses and their resistance to breakdown, they have been detected in surface and groundwater resources...

Date published: May 26, 2021
Status: Active

Scientists Provide an Understanding of Anticoagulant Rodenticide Exposure in Non-Target Bird Species

U.S. Geological Survey scientists and their partners utilize laboratory and field studies and existing information to improve understanding of anticoagulant rodenticide exposure and effects to wild birds.

Date published: April 15, 2021
Status: Completed

Bioaccumulation of Mercury in Fish Varied by Species and Location in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed—Summary of Existing Data and a Roadmap for Integrated Monitoring

Fish mercury data from State monitoring programs and research studies within the Chesapeake Bay were compiled and summarized to provide a comprehensive overview of the variation in fish mercury concentrations among species and habitats within the watershed. These data are put into context with existing health benchmarks for humans, birds, and fish. Scientists also provide a roadmap for an...

Date published: June 11, 2020
Status: Completed

U.S. Geological Survey Microbiologist Selected as an American Society for Microbiology Distinguished Lecturer

Dale Warren Griffin, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) environmental public-health microbiologist, was selected as a Waksman Foundation Distinguished Lecturer for the 2020–22 American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Lecture Series. 

Date published: February 12, 2020
Status: Active

How are Mercury Sources Determined?

USGS scientists use innovative isotopic identification methods to determine mercury sources in air, water, sediments, and wildlife.

Date published: February 10, 2020
Status: Completed

Satellite Data Used to Estimate and Rank Cyanobacterial Bloom Magnitude in Florida and Ohio Lakes—Developing Tools to Protect Human and Wildlife Health from Cyanotoxin Exposure

Cyanobacterial bloom magnitude during 2003–11 was quantified and ranked in Florida and Ohio lakes with a newly developed modelling tool that allows for the use of multiple satellite data sources and user-defined thresholds. This tool was designed to identify the magnitude of algal blooms, but one metric alone cannot adequately represent the severity of a bloom of interest in terms of toxicity...

Contacts: Keith A Loftin, Ph.D., Sachi Mishra
Date published: November 20, 2019
Status: Completed

Refined Model Provides a Screening Tool to Understand Exposure to Contaminants from Incidental Wastewater Reuse

Refinement of the existing national-scale “de facto reuse incidence in our nation’s consumable supply” (DRINCS) model, complemented by field measurements, provides a screening tool to understand human and wildlife exposure to toxicants and pathogens associated with the incidental reuse of treated wastewater in the Shenandoah River watershed. The model results can be accessed in a companion...

Date published: May 7, 2019
Status: Active

Sublethal Effects of Contaminants in Aquatic Food Webs—Research Challenges and Considerations for Future Studies

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and academic scientists partnered to identify challenges and provide considerations for future scientific study designs to advance our understanding of the often subtle sublethal effects of contaminants on individuals, populations, communities, and entire aquatic food webs. 

Contacts: Kelly Smalling
Date published: February 25, 2019
Status: Completed

Roadmap to Understanding Factors Influencing Mercury Exposure and Adverse Health Effects

In a comprehensive overview, scientists explain that human and wildlife exposure and toxicological responses to mercury are dependent on factors that operate across global, individual, and molecular scales. They provide a roadmap for unified research to facilitate a better understanding of human and wildlife health risks from mercury exposure.

Date published: February 25, 2019
Status: Completed

Pilot Study Provides Information on Contaminant Exposure from Tap Water at Residential and Workplace Sites in the United States

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with National Institutes of Health, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and academia, completed a pilot study to provide information on contaminant exposure from tap water at 26 locations including public and private supplies. Public-supply tap water generally met enforceable standards for those compounds with standards. Samples consisted...

Date published: February 5, 2019
Status: Active

Novel Approach Improves Understanding of Virus Occurrence in Drinking Water

Waterborne viruses, one of the leading causes of gastrointestinal illnesses, were measured in United States drinking water sources and finished water. Scientists used a combination of measurement and statistical techniques to overcome limitations to quantifying these viruses, thus offering an enhanced method for virus monitoring.

Contacts: Edward Furlong, Dana W Kolpin, Susan T. Glassmeyer
Date published: December 18, 2018
Status: Completed

Long-term Studies Examine Contaminant Exposure and Reproduction of Ospreys Nesting in Two Large United States Estuaries

In a series of studies from 2010 to 2018, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists detected low levels of legacy contaminants and pharmaceuticals in osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and their food chain within the Chesapeake and Delaware River estuaries. Osprey reproductive success increased during the same period and was determined to be adequate to sustain a stable population in both...