Mission Areas

Environmental Health

The Toxic Substances Hydrology and Contaminant Biology Programs work collaboratively to assess and differentiate the environmental contaminant and pathogen exposures that cause actual health risks versus those that are only perceived. Specialized teams of hydrologists, geologists, chemists, biologists, and geographers work together in the field and laboratories across the United States.

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Featured Science Activities

Featured Science Activities

Our Science Feature Articles highlight recent USGS environmental health science activities.

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GeoHEALTH-USGS Newsletter

GeoHEALTH-USGS Newsletter

The GeoHEALTH-USGS Newsletter provides information on new USGS science activities related to safeguarding the health of fish, wildlife, domesticated animals, livestock, and people from environmental exposures to contaminants and pathogens.

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News

Date published: May 15, 2019

USGS Kicks Off Innovative Project to Study Harmful Algal Blooms in New York

Monitoring Effort Supports State’s Initiative to Combat Potentially Toxic Blooms

Date published: March 20, 2019

What's New with Our Budget in Fiscal Year 2020

Information on funding for Environmental Health Mission Area programs for fiscal year 2020.

Date published: March 13, 2019

Significant Milestone in Whooping Crane Recovery

This week marks a significant milestone in the conservation and recovery of the endangered whooping crane. On March 11 and 13, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center transferred its last two cranes of the approximately 75 that were in its flock to other institutions, closing out more than 50 years of the center’s whooping crane research and captive breeding success.

Publications

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Year Published: 2019

Malignant melanoma of Brown Bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) in Lake Memphremagog, Vermont/Quebec

In 2012, brown bullhead (Ameiurus nebulosus) with large, raised, black growths were first reported from multiple areas within the Vermont portion of Lake Memphremagog. Subsequent surveys conducted from 2014-2017 at two sites within the lake indicated a prevalence of 30% in adult brown bullhead 200 mm and above total length. These lesions ranged...

Blazer, Vicki S.; Shaw, Cassidy H.; Smith, Cheyenne R; Emerson, P; Jones, Thomas R.

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Year Published: 2019

Mercury source changes and food web shifts alter contamination signatures of predatory fish from Lake Michigan

To understand the impact reduced mercury (Hg) loading and invasive species have had on methylmercury bioaccumulation in predator fish of Lake Michigan, we reconstructed bioaccumulation trends from a fish archive (1978 to 2012). By measuring fish Hg stable isotope ratios, we related temporal changes in Hg concentrations to varying Hg sources....

Lepak, Ryan F.; Hoffman, Joel C.; Janssen, Sarah E.; Krabbenhoft, David P.; Ogorek, Jacob M.; DeWild, John F.; Tate, Michael T.; Babiarz, Christopher L.; Yin, Runsheng; Murphy, Elizabeth W; Engstrom, Daniel R; Hurley, James P.

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Year Published: 2019

Urban stormwater: An overlooked pathway of extensive mixed contaminants to surface and groundwaters in the United States

Increasing global reliance on stormwater control measures to reduce discharge to surface water, increase groundwater recharge, and minimize contaminant delivery to receiving waterbodies necessitates improved understanding of stormwater-contaminant profiles. A multi-agency study of organic and inorganic chemicals in urban stormwater from 50 runoff...

Masoner, Jason R.; Kolpin, Dana W.; Bradley, Paul M.