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Dive into our publications and explore the science from the Environmental Health Program (Toxic Substances Hydrology and Contaminant Biology).

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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
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

Illegal dumping of oil and gas wastewater alters arid soil microbial communities

The Permian Basin, underlying southeast New Mexico and west Texas, is one of the most productive oil and gas (OG) provinces in the United States. Oil and gas production yields large volumes of wastewater with complex chemistries, and the environmental health risks posed by these OG wastewaters on sensitive desert ecosystems are poorly understood. Starting in November 2017, 39 illegal dumps, as def
Mitra Kashani, Mark A Engle, Douglas B. Kent, Terry G. Gregston, Isabelle M. Cozzarelli, Adam Mumford, Matthew S. Varonka, Cassandra Rashan Harris, Denise M. Akob

An assessment of HgII to preserve carbonate system parameters in organic-rich estuarine waters

This work assesses the effectiveness of sample preservation techniques for measurements of pHT (total scale), total dissolved inorganic carbon (CT), and total alkalinity (AT) in organic-rich estuarine waters as well as the internal consistency of measurements and calculations (e.g., AT, pHT, and CT) in these waters. Using mercuric chloride (HgCl2)-treated and untreated water samples, measurements

Christopher Moore, Robert H. Byrne, Kimberly Yates

Attenuation of barium, strontium, cobalt, and nickel plumes formed during microbial iron-reduction in a crude-oil-contaminated aquifer

We assessed the spatial distribution of 35 elements in aquifer sediments and groundwater of a crude-oil-contaminated aquifer and show evidence of the dissolution of barium (Ba), strontium (Sr), cobalt (Co), and nickel (Ni) during hydrocarbon oxidation coupled to historic microbial Fe(III)-reduction near the oil. Trace element plumes occur in the crude-oil-contaminated aquifer, where 50% Co, 47% Ni
Katherine Jones, Brady Ziegler, Audrey Davis, Isabelle M. Cozzarelli

Nitrifying microorganisms linked to biotransformation of perfluoroalkyl sulfonamido precursors from legacy aqueous film forming foams

Drinking water supplies across the United States have been contaminated by firefighting and fire-training activities that use aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Much of the AFFF is manufactured using electrochemical fluorination by 3M. Precursors with six perfluorinated carbons (C6) and non-fluorinated amine substituents make up approximately o
Bridger J. Ruyle, Lara Schultes, Denise M. Akob, Cassandra Rashan Harris, Michelle Lorah, Simon Vojta, Jitka Becanova, Shelly McCann, Heidi M. Pickard, Ann Pearson, Rainer Lohmann, Chad D. Vecitis, Elsie M. Sunderland

Uptake of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances by fish, mussel, and passive samplers in mobile laboratory exposures using groundwater from a contamination plume at a historical fire training area, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Aqueous film-forming foams historically were used during fire training activities on Joint Base Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and created an extensive per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) groundwater contamination plume. The potential for PFAS bioconcentration from exposure to the contaminated groundwater, which discharges to surface water bodies, was assessed with mobile-laboratory experiments u
Larry B. Barber, Heidi M. Pickard, David Alvarez, Jitka Becanova, Steffanie H. Keefe, Denis R. LeBlanc, Rainer Lohmann, Jeffery Steevens, Alan M. Vajda

Tracking status and trends in seven key indicators of stream health in the Chesapeake Bay watershed

“The Bay Connects us, the Bay reflects us” writes Tom Horton in the book “Turning the Tide—Saving the Chesapeake Bay”. The Chesapeake Bay watershed contains the largest estuary in the United States. The watershed stretches north to Cooperstown, New York, south to Lynchburg and Virginia Beach, Virginia, west to Pendleton County, West Virginia, and east to Seaford, Delaware, and Scranton, Pennsylvan
Samuel H. Austin, Matt J. Cashman, John W. Clune, James E. Colgin, Rosemary M. Fanelli, Kevin P. Krause, Emily Majcher, Kelly O. Maloney, Chris A. Mason, Doug L. Moyer, Tammy M. Zimmerman

The influence of short-term temporal variability on the efficacy of dragonfly larvae as mercury biosentinels

Mercury (Hg) exposure to fish, wildlife, and humans is widespread and of global concern, thus stimulating efforts to reduce emissions. Because the relationships between rates of inorganic Hg loading, methylmercury (MeHg) production, and bioaccumulation are extremely complex and challenging to predict, there is a need for reliable biosentinels to understand the distribution of Hg in the environment
James Willacker, Collin Eagles-Smith, Sarah J. Nelson, Colleen M. Flanagan-Pritz, David P. Krabbenhoft

Contaminant exposure and transport from three potential reuse waters within a single watershed

Global demand for safe and sustainable water supplies necessitates a better understanding of contaminant exposures in potential reuse waters. In this study, we compared exposures and load contributions to surface water from the discharge of three reuse waters (wastewater effluent, urban stormwater, and agricultural runoff). Results document substantial and varying organic-chemical contribution to
Jason R. Masoner, Dana W. Kolpin, Isabelle M. Cozzarelli, Paul M. Bradley, Brian Arnall, Kenneth J. Forshay, James L. Gray, Justin F. Groves, Michelle Hladik, Laura E. Hubbard, Luke R. Iwanowicz, Jeanne B. Jaeschke, Rachael F. Lane, R. Blaine McCleskey, Bridgette F. Polite, David A. Roth, Michael Pettijohn, Michaelah C. Wilson

Grass carp reproduction in small tributaries of Truman Reservoir, Missouri: Implications for establishment in novel habitats

Substantial work has been conducted to estimate the river length required for recruitment of invasive Grass Carp Ctenopharyngodon idella and bigheaded carps (Bighead Carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis and Silver Carp H. molitrix); however, the distance upstream and size of stream required for spawning remain unclear. Adult Grass Carp are regularly captured in Harry S. Truman Reservoir, Missouri, alth
Cari-Ann Hayer, Michael F. Bayless, Cathy A. Richter, Amy E. George, Duane Chapman

Acetylenotrophic and diazotrophic Bradyrhizobium sp. strain I71 from TCE-contaminated soils

AbstractAcetylene (C2H2) is a molecule rarely found in nature, with very few known natural sources, but acetylenotrophic microorganisms can use acetylene as their primary carbon and energy source. As of 2018 there were 15 known strains of aerobic and anaerobic acetylenotrophs; however, we hypothesize there may yet be unrecognized diversity of acetylenotrophs in nature. This study expands the known
Denise M. Akob, John M. Sutton, Timothy J. Bushman, Shaun Baesman, Edina Klein, Yesha Shrestha, Robert Andrews, Janna L. Fierst, Max Kolton, Sara Gushgari-Doyle, Ronald Oremland, John Freeman

Using biological responses to monitor freshwater post-spill conditions over 3 years in Blacktail Creek, North Dakota, USA

A pipeline carrying unconventional oil and gas (OG) wastewater spilled approximately 11 million liters of wastewater into Blacktail Creek, North Dakota, USA. Flow of the mix of stream water and wastewater down the channel resulted in storage of contaminants in the hyporheic zone and along the banks, providing a long-term source of wastewater constituents to the stream. A multi-level investigation
Aida Farag, David Harper, Isabelle M. Cozzarelli, Douglas B. Kent, Adam Mumford, Denise M. Akob, Travis W. Schaeffer, Luke R. Iwanowicz