Toxic Substances Hydrology

Toxic Substances Hydrology 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.
 

Filter Total Items: 106
Date published: February 17, 2021
Status: Active

Wetland Management Technique Designed to Reduce Mercury in Water and Fish Tested During a Short-Term Field Study

Results from a 3-year study indicate there was support for the use of open- and deep-water treatment pools at the downstream end of seasonal wetlands to reduce methylmercury concentrations in water exported from the wetlands, but the treatment had no measurable effect on wetland fish. Questions remain about the long-term potential for mercury removal using this wetland management strategy...

Contacts: Josh T Ackerman
Date published: February 17, 2021
Status: Active

Technique Used to Distinguish Natural Background from Human-Caused Enrichment of Trace Elements in Soils

Human activities can enrich toxic trace elements like uranium and arsenic in the environment, but these elements also are from natural sources and occur at background levels. Scientists utilized a technique that identifies the background and the elemental fingerprint of human-caused enrichment and tested the new technique on data collected near uranium mines in Arizona.

 

Date published: February 16, 2021
Status: Completed

Mercury Accumulation in Waterbirds (Black Rails) Related to Sediment Chemistry in San Francisco Bay Wetlands

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) assessed the effect of sediment chemistry, food web structure, and diet on mercury bioaccumulation in black rails in the San Francisco Bay watershed. Differences in mercury accumulation in the birds were related to differences in sediment chemistry in the wetlands.  

 

Date published: January 13, 2021
Status: Active

Environmental Health Program Drinking Water Science

Drinking water in the United States rarely is tested for contaminants and pathogens at the tap, where human exposure can occur. In this special issue, we present the science to help understand contaminants and pathogens in drinking water at business and residential taps.

Date published: August 26, 2020
Status: Active

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 insectivores living near contaminated freshwaters.

Date published: August 26, 2020
Status: Completed

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 understand the health effects of algal toxins.

Date published: August 18, 2020
Status: Completed

U.S. Geological Survey Research Scientist Recognized for Advancing Exposure Science

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Scientist Dana Kolpin was presented the International Environmental Award by Reciphram celebrating his research on the occurrence, sources, fate, and effects of environmental contaminants such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides.

Contacts: Dana W Kolpin
Date published: August 10, 2020
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: July 27, 2020
Status: Active

Dragonfly Larvae are Effective Bioindicators of Mercury Exposure in Fish and Amphibians—Results of Citizen Science in 100 National Parks and Protected Places

Mercury concentrations were measured in dragonfly larvae across more than 450 sites in 100 national parks and protected places as part of a partnership among Federal agencies, academic researchers, and more than 4,000 citizen scientists.  Mercury concentrations in dragonfly larvae were positively correlated with mercury concentrations in fish and amphibians living in the same...

Contacts: Collin Eagles-Smith, Colleen Flanagan Pritz
Date published: June 26, 2020
Status: Active

Mixtures of Organic and Inorganic Chemicals Characterized in Water from the Taps of Residences in the Greater Chicago Area— Science to Understand Contaminant Exposures in Drinking Water

As a component of ongoing research with a coalition of partners, including the U.S. Geological Survey U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Colorado School of Mines, University of Illinois Chicago, and University of South Carolina, water was collected from the taps of 45 Chicago-area residences and analyzed for 540 organic and 35...

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.