Contaminant Biology

Contaminant Biology Featured Science Activities

Our science is summarized in a series of feature articles that highlight recent U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) environmental health science activities. They are short summaries of peer-reviewed journal articles and USGS reports co-authored by our specialized teams of scientists. The feature articles can also be found here.
 

Filter Total Items: 141
Date published: May 26, 2021
Status: Completed

Assessment of Mercury and Selenium Accumulation in Upper Colorado River Basin Fish

More than 50 years of existing mercury and selenium concentrations in native and nonnative fish species residing in streams within the Upper Colorado River Basin were compiled and analyzed to provide an understanding of concentrations among different species, sampling years, and locations to determine potential health risks. Concentrations of mercury and selenium were above health...

Date published: May 26, 2021
Status: Active

Ecotoxicology and Ecological Risks of Per‐ and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances

Ecotoxicology and ecological risks of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are summarized to highlight critical gaps and uncertainties, and to provide potential approaches to fill those gaps, including the development of targeted monitoring programs and cross-disciplinary approaches.

Date published: May 26, 2021
Status: Active

Inorganic and Organic Chemical Mixtures Detected in both Public and Private Tap Water in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Multiple detections of regulated and unregulated chemical (inorganic, organic) analytes or elements were detected in both privately and publicly supplied tap water samples from 20 residences in Cape Cod, Massachusetts that share a common source of water.

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: May 25, 2021
Status: Completed

Long-Term Monitoring Reveals How Water and Biota in Remote Lakes Respond Differently to Changes in Atmospheric Deposition of Mercury

A comparison of regional mercury atmospheric deposition data with water, yellow perch, and dragonfly larvae samples from lakes in Voyageurs National Park indicates that decreases in mercury emissions resulted in mercury reduction in water from these remote lakes, but mercury declines in biota were significant in only one of three lakes, likely because resident biota integrate exposure over...

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: April 7, 2021
Status: Completed

Flood Redistributes Mercury in Grand Canyon Aquatic Food Webs

Scientists coupled the concepts of energy flow through food webs with measurements of mercury in organic matter and animals to estimate mercury fluxes and fate during an experimental flood in the Colorado River. The flood redistributed mercury in simple, upstream food webs but not in more complex, downstream food webs. 

Date published: April 6, 2021
Status: Completed

Science to Understand Low-Level Exposures to Neonicotinoid Pesticides, their Metabolites, and Chlorinated Byproducts in Drinking Water

Scientists reported the discovery of three neonicotinoid pesticides in drinking water and their potential for transformation and removal during water treatment. The research provides new insights into the persistence of neonicotinoids and their potential for transformation during water treatment and distribution, while also identifying granulated activated carbon as a potentially effective...

Date published: March 16, 2021
Status: Completed

Clothianidin Exposure Associated with Changes in Tadpole Behavior

During a laboratory exposure study, tadpole movement decreased with increased concentrations of clothianidin, a neonicotinoid pesticide. Decreased movement could affect a tadpole’s ability to forage, escape predation, and metamorphose before ponds dry.

Date published: March 8, 2021
Status: Completed

Framework Developed to Evaluate the Practicality of Effects-Directed Analyses to Identify Endocrine Active Chemicals in Complex Environmental Sample Mixtures

An effects-directed analyses (EDA) framework for endocrine active chemicals was developed to help decision makers quickly evaluate the efficacy and practicality of an EDA approach in waste and surface waters and how adjustments could be made to increase its success.

Date published: March 3, 2021
Status: Completed

Per/polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Residential Tap Water: Source-to-Tap Science for Underserved Communities

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were detected at low levels in treated drinking water samples from residential taps in the Greater Chicago Area. This study is part of a larger approach to provide an understanding of contaminant mixtures in residential tap water across the Nation including underserved communities in rural, urban, and tribal areas. 

Date published: March 1, 2021
Status: Completed

Bird Hatchling Development Following Exposure to Environmentally Relevant Levels of Brominated Flame Retardants

Scientists performed laboratory studies with American kestrels and zebra finch to determine the effects of brominated flame retardant exposure on hatchlings. They found evidence that exposure while in the egg disrupted thyroid function in female American kestrel hatchlings and affected nestling body condition in zebra finch hatchlings, but no other effects were detected.

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