Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

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Science Centers and scientists suported by the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program 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 Science Feature Articles highlight recent USGS environmental health 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: September 11, 2020

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...

Date published: September 11, 2020

Review of Cyanobacterial Neurotoxins—Information for Prioritizing Future Science Directions

The current state of knowledge on the modes of action, production, fate, and occurrence of the freshwater cyanobacterial neurotoxins, anatoxin-a and saxitoxin, was reviewed and synthesized to identify gaps and critical research needs to better...

Date published: September 11, 2020

Conceptual Model Developed to Understand Contaminant Pathways between Aquatic and Terrestrial Ecosystems

A conceptual model, based on contaminant properties and ecotoxicological principles, was developed to understand the transfer of contaminants from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems and the effects of various classes of contaminants on terrestrial...

Publications

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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.

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Year Published: 2020

Freshwater neurotoxins and concerns for human, animal, and ecosystemhealth: A review of anatoxin-a and saxitoxin

Toxic cyanobacteria are a concern worldwide because they can adversely affect humans, animals, and ecosystems. However, neurotoxins produced by freshwater cyanobacteria are understudied relative to microcystin. Thus, the objective of this critical review was to provide a comprehensive examination of the modes of action, production, fate, and...

Christensen, Victoria; Khan, Eakalak