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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Date published: February 15, 2019

Environmental Health Mission Area Science Priorities for Fiscal Year 2019

The USGS Environmental Health Mission Area (EHMA)—through its integrated programs, the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program (TSHP) and the Contaminant Biology Program (CBP) — will continue its non-regulatory, non-advocacy science throughout 2019.

Date published: July 27, 2018

Follow National Wildfire Information in the Palm of Your Hand: GeoMAC Goes Mobile

The public can now access information about active wildfires across the country using a smartphone.

Date published: July 13, 2018

Reducing Mercury Loads in The Cosumnes River

The Cosumnes River watershed has seasonal, non-point source hotspots for total mercury and methylmercury production, which discharge to the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta in north-central California. To reduce mercury loads to the Delta, researchers created open-water deep cells at the downstream end of wetlands.


Year Published: 2019

Description of disparate responses of two indoor feral bee colonies

As is sometimes the case, field research does not always go according to plan. This is especially true when the research involves free-ranging animals. We recently conducted a preliminary field study that involved placing a beehive in a tent and individually releasing marked honey bees (Apis mellifera) outdoors to study their ability to locate...

Vyas, Nimish B.; Plunkett, Amanda D.

Year Published: 2019

Use of blood clotting assays to assess potential anticoagulant rodenticide exposure and effects in free-ranging birds of prey

Non-target wildlife, particularly birds of prey, are widely exposed to and acutely poisoned by anticoagulant rodenticides (ARs). An unresolved issue surrounding such exposure, however, is the potential for sublethal effects. In particular, the consequences of AR exposure and resulting coagulopathy on health and survival of...

Hindmarch, Sofi; Rattner, Barnett A.; Elliott, John E.

Year Published: 2018

Sex‐specific responses in neuroanatomy of hatchling American kestrels in response to embryonic exposure to the flame retardants bis(2‐ethylhexyl)‐2,3,4,5‐tetrabromophthalate and 2‐ethylhexyl‐2,3,4,5‐tetrabromobenzoate

Bis(2‐ethylhexyl)‐2,3,4,5‐tetrabromophthalate (BEH‐TEBP) and 2‐ethylhexyl‐2,3,4,5‐tetrabromobenzoate (EH‐TBB), flame retardant components of FireMaster 550® and 600® have been detected in tissues of wild birds. To address the paucity of information regarding potential impacts of flame retardants on the brain, brain volume regions of hatchling...

Guigueno, Mélanie F.; Karouna-Renier, Natalie K.; Henry, Paula F. P.; Peters, Lisa E.; Palace, Vince P.; Letcher, Robert J.; Fernie, Kim J.