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Environmental Health Program

The Environmental Health Program (Contaminant Biology and Toxic Substances Hydrology) supports integrated natural science expertise and capabilities across the USGS related to environmental contaminants and pathogens. This One Health approach recognizes the interdependence of human and animal health and the health of ecosystems that they share. 

News

Art Illuminates the Grand Canyon: Exploring the Environmental Puzzle

Art Illuminates the Grand Canyon: Exploring the Environmental Puzzle

Fridays Findings - June 14, 2024

Fridays Findings - June 14, 2024

USGS EcoNews | Spring 2024 - Vol. 5 | Issue 2 - Vol. 5 | Issue 2

Publications

Distribution of ancient carbon in groundwater and soil gas from degradation of petroleum near the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i

The groundwater below the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility (the facility) in Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, contains fuel compounds from past spills. This study used carbon-14 analyses to distinguish fuel-derived carbon from background carbon, along with other biodegradation indicators, to address two goals: (1) determine the extent and migration direction of groundwater affected by residual fuel below the fa
Authors
Jared J. Trost, Barbara A. Bekins, Jeanne B. Jaeschke, Geoffrey N. Delin, Daniel A Sinclair, James K Stack, Rylen K. Nakama, Uli'i M. Miyajima, Lhiberty D. Pagaduan, Isabelle M. Cozzarelli

Interdisciplinary science approach for harmful algal blooms (HABs) and algal toxins—A strategic science vision for the U.S. Geological Survey

Executive SummaryAlgal blooms in water, soils, dusts, and the environment have captured national attention because of concerns associated with exposure to algal toxins for humans and animals. Algal blooms naturally occur in all surface-water types and are important primary producers for aquatic ecosystems. However, excessive algae growth can be associated with many harmful effects ranging from aes
Authors
Victoria G. Christensen, Christopher J. Crawford, Robert J. Dusek, Michael J. Focazio, Lisa Reynolds Fogarty, Jennifer L. Graham, Celeste A. Journey, Mari E. Lee, James H. Larson, Sarah M. Stackpoole, Viviana Mazzei, Emily J. Pindilli, Barnett A. Rattner, E. Terrence Slonecker, Kristen B. McSwain, Timothy J. Reilly, Ashley E. Lopez

Integrated science for the study of microplastics in the environment—A strategic science vision for the U.S. Geological Survey

Executive SummaryEvidence of the widespread occurrence of microplastics throughout our environment and exposure to humans and other organisms over the past decade has led to questions about the possibility of health hazards and mitigation of exposures. This document discusses nanoplastics as well as microplastics (referred to solely as microplastics); the microplastics have a range from 1 micromet
Authors
Deborah D. Iwanowicz, Austin K. Baldwin, Larry B. Barber, Vicki S. Blazer, Steven R. Corsi, Joseph W. Duris, Shawn C. Fisher, Michael Focazio, Sarah E. Janssen, Jeramy R. Jasmann, Dana W. Kolpin, Johanna M. Kraus, Rachael F. Lane, Mari E. Lee, Kristen B. McSwain, Timothy D. Oden, Timothy J. Reilly, Andrew R. Spanjer

Science

USGS Science Opportunities Related to the Nationally Relevant Study of Microplastics

USGS recently (2024) released a strategic vision document that identifies science gaps and prioritizes research relevant to the mission, expertise, and capabilities of the USGS. The intention is for USGS and stakeholders to use this as a starting part for planning, prioritizing, and designing microplastic research projects.
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USGS Science Opportunities Related to the Nationally Relevant Study of Microplastics

USGS recently (2024) released a strategic vision document that identifies science gaps and prioritizes research relevant to the mission, expertise, and capabilities of the USGS. The intention is for USGS and stakeholders to use this as a starting part for planning, prioritizing, and designing microplastic research projects.
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U.S. Geological Survey Develops Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Sampling Guide

USGS scientist’s published a Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) sampling guide for personnel involved with Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) activities. This guide introduces individuals involved in NRDAR efforts and other investigators to key concepts and considerations when sampling different environmental media for PFAS.
link

U.S. Geological Survey Develops Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Sampling Guide

USGS scientist’s published a Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) sampling guide for personnel involved with Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) activities. This guide introduces individuals involved in NRDAR efforts and other investigators to key concepts and considerations when sampling different environmental media for PFAS.
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Human-Related Compounds in Water Sources in the Grand Canyon Help Identify Water Flow Pathways and Highlight Potential Water Quality Changes

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists investigated the movement of human-generated chemicals, such as pharmaceuticals and per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS), in groundwater along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. This research led to a better understanding of the movement of wastewater into groundwater, of complex underground flow patterns, and of chemicals present in springs near...
link

Human-Related Compounds in Water Sources in the Grand Canyon Help Identify Water Flow Pathways and Highlight Potential Water Quality Changes

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists investigated the movement of human-generated chemicals, such as pharmaceuticals and per- and polyfluorinated substances (PFAS), in groundwater along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. This research led to a better understanding of the movement of wastewater into groundwater, of complex underground flow patterns, and of chemicals present in springs near...
Learn More