Environmental Health

Featured Science Activities

Our science activities are 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.
Older featured science activities are on our old Web site.

Filter Total Items: 155
Date published: August 22, 2017
Status: Completed

Interactive Map Provides a Long-Term Look at Changes in River and Stream Quality

A new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) interactive map provides a comprehensive, long-term assessment of changes in the chemical composition and quality of our rivers and streams over the last four decades.

Contacts: Lori Sprague
Date published: August 14, 2017
Status: Completed

Efficacy of Eggshell Analyses as a Nonlethal Method to Estimate Mercury Exposure in Bird Embryos

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists evaluated a nonlethal method to estimate mercury in the embryos of 23 bird species using mercury content in eggshells. This method was effective for a wide range of ages and species.

Contacts: Josh T Ackerman
Date published: August 2, 2017
Status: Completed

Enhancement of Trichloroethene (TCE) Biodegradation in a Simulated Groundwater System

This laboratory-based study provides information for understanding enhancement of trichloroethene (TCE) biodegradation in a simulated groundwater system.

Contacts: Ronald Oremland
Date published: August 2, 2017
Status: Completed

Commonly Used Chemicals Transported to Agricultural Field through Municipal Biosolids Application

Commonly used chemicals (including fragrances, detergents, fire retardants, plasticizers, and antibacterials) transferred to wastewater treatment plants were detected in municipal wastewater biosolids applied to agricultural field plots and subsequently detected in the runoff transported from the plots during precipitation events.

Date published: July 14, 2017
Status: Completed

Program Scientist Receives Award for Research on the Effects of Road Dust Control Chemicals

Dr. Bethany Kunz received the 2017 Environmental Excellence Award from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for her exemplary research to advance knowledge of the effects of transportation on the natural environment.

Date published: July 13, 2017
Status: Completed

Multi-State Survey Measures Parabens in Municipal Wastewater Biosolids

This study provides new information about the composition and concentrations of 5 parabens—preservatives in pharmaceuticals and personal care products—present in biosolids collected from 14 municipal wastewater treatment plants across the United States.

Date published: June 19, 2017
Status: Completed

Satellite Imagery Used to Measure Algal Bloom Frequency—Steps Toward Understanding Exposure Risk

Study explores the utility and limitations of currently available remotely sensed satellite data for identifying the frequency of algal blooms in the Nation's lakes and reservoirs. This information provides a first step toward the goal of understanding exposure risk to protect the health of humans, pets, livestock, and wildlife.

Date published: June 14, 2017
Status: Completed

Cyanobacteria from 2016 Lake Okeechobee Harmful Algal Bloom Photo-Documented

New report provides photographic documentation and identification of the cyanobacteria present in Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River, and St. Lucie Canal during an extensive algal bloom in 2016.

Date published: June 13, 2017
Status: Completed

Evaluating Linkages Between Algal Toxins and Human Health

The amino acid β-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) is produced by cyanobacteria and has been suggested by human health researchers as a causal factor for degenerative neurological diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Parkinsonism, and dementia. An objective review concluded that this hypothesis is not supported by existing data.

Date published: June 9, 2017
Status: Completed

Program Scientist Receives Meritorious Service Award

Dr. Isabelle M. Cozzarelli received the U.S. Department of Interior's second highest honorary award—the Meritorious Service Award—for her numerous contributions to understanding the biogeochemical controls of contaminant degradation in groundwater and near-surface environments.

Date published: May 19, 2017
Status: Completed

Two Scientists Receive Early Career Excellence in Leadership Award

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) 2016 Early Career Excellence in Leadership Award was given to Dr. Denise M. Akob and Dr. Karl B. Haase. Drs. Akob and Haase have demonstrated outstanding leadership through their scientific accomplishments and service to the USGS.

Date published: May 3, 2017
Status: Completed

Human and Bovine Virus Prevalence in Some Great Lakes Tributaries Influenced by Watershed-Specific and Seasonal Characteristics

Human enteric and bovine-specific viruses were detected in eight Great Lakes tributaries. Presence and concentration of human viruses increased in watersheds with greater than 25 percent urban influence and more than 2,900 people per square kilometer. Similarly, bovine viruses increased in watersheds having greater than 40 percent agricultural land influence and cattle densities greater than...

Contacts: Peter L Lenaker