Toxic Substances Hydrology

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Science Centers and scientists suported by Toxic Substances Hydrology develop and apply advanced analytical methods, field investigations, laboratory studies, and modeling capabilities to understand sources, movement, and exposure pathways of chemical and microbial contaminants in the environment. They are integrated in the Ecosystems Mission Area as the Environmental Health Program with science centers and scientists supported by Contaminant Biology who then determine toxicity and effects of contaminants and pathogens.

Featured Science Activities

Featured Science Activities

Our Featured Science Articles Highlight Environmental Health Program Science Activities.

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GeoHEALTH-USGS

GeoHEALTH-USGS

The GeoHEALTH–USGS Newsletter—published since 2004—provides information on USGS science activities pertinent to safeguarding the health of fish, wildlife, domesticated animals, and people from environmental exposures to contaminants and pathogens.

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News

Date published: May 27, 2021

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 25, 2021

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.

Date published: April 28, 2021

Media Alert: Second Round of USGS Dye-Tracing Study on the Kansas River Begins This Week

U.S. Geological Survey and partners will inject a harmless, bright red fluorescent dye into the Kansas River on April 29, weather permitting. The study is being done by the USGS in cooperation with the Kansas Water Office, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, The Nature Conservancy, City of Manhattan, City of Topeka, City of Olathe, City of Lawrence, and WaterOne.

Publications

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Year Published: 2021

Machine learning models of arsenic in private wells throughout the conterminous United States as a tool for exposure assessment in human health studies

Arsenic from geologic sources is widespread in groundwater within the United States (U.S.). In several areas, groundwater arsenic concentrations exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level of 10 μg per liter (μg/L). However, this standard applies only to public-supply drinking water and not to private-supply, which is...

Lombard, Melissa; Scannell Bryan, Molly; Jones, Daniel K.; Bulka, Catherine; Bradley, Paul; Backer, Lorraine C.; Focazio, Michael J.; Silverman, Debra T.; Toccalino, Patricia; Argos, Maria; Gribble, Matthew O.; Ayotte, Joseph D.

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Year Published: 2020

Occurrence and spatiotemporal dynamics of pharmaceuticals in a temperate-region wastewater effluent-dominated stream: Variable inputs and differential attenuation yield evolving complex exposure mixtures

Effluent-dominated streams are becoming increasingly common in temperate regions and generate complex pharmaceutical mixture exposure conditions that may impact aquatic organisms via drug–drug interactions. Here, we quantified spatiotemporal pharmaceutical exposure concentrations and composition mixture dynamics during baseflow conditions at four...

Zhi, Hui; Kolpin, Dana W.; Klaper, R.D.; Iwanowicz, Luke R.; Meppelink, Shannon M.; LeFevre, Gregory H.

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Year Published: 2020

Boreal blazes: Biomass burning and vegetation types archived in the Juneau Icefield

The past decade includes some of the most extensive boreal forest fires in the historical record. Warming temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, the desiccation of thick organic soil layers, and increased ignition from lightning all contribute to a combustive combination. Smoke aerosols travel thousands of kilometers, before blanketing the...

Kehrwald, Natalie; Jasmann, Jeramy Roland; Dunham, Melissa E.; Ferris, David G.; Osterburg, Erich C.; Kennedy, Joshua; Havens, Jeremy; Barber, Larry; Fortner, Sarah K.