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: April 12, 2017
Status: Completed

Trace Levels of Organic Chemicals Limited to Local Reaches of a Stream near an Oil and Gas Wastewater Disposal Facility

Organic contaminants that were present in Wolf Creek near a wastewater disposal facility were not evident farther downstream where Wolf Creek enters the New River. Wolf Creek and the New River are used for drinking water and recreational purposes.

Date published: April 12, 2017
Status: Completed

Study Highlights the Complexity of Chemical Mixtures in United States Streams

A new study highlights the complexity of chemical mixtures in streams and advances the understanding of wildlife and human exposure to complex chemical mixtures.

Contacts: Paul M Bradley
Date published: April 12, 2017
Status: Completed

Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances From Firefighting and Domestic Wastewater Remain in Groundwater for Decades

New study explores the persistence and transport of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) that originated from both firefighting and domestic wastewater sources. Although the fire training area and wastewater facility were decommissioned over 20 years ago, both sites continue to be sources of PFASs to groundwater.

Date published: April 7, 2017
Status: Completed

New Method Improves Measurement of Bullet Fragments in Culled Varmints

A creative combination of radiography and techniques borrowed from meat processing and gold prospecting led to a better method for determining the lead content in ground squirrels shot by hunters to evaluate potential exposure risk to avian scavengers such as golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos).

Date published: April 3, 2017
Status: Completed

Understanding Chemical and Microbial Contaminants in Public Drinking Water

Collaborative joint agency study provides nationally consistent and rigorously quality-assured datasets on a wide range of chemical and microbial contaminants present in source and treated public drinking water supplies. Tap water was not analyzed in this study.

Date published: March 30, 2017
Status: Completed

Low Levels of Contaminants Found in Great Lakes Tree Swallow Nestlings

Tree swallow nestlings at most study sites in the Great Lakes basin were minimally exposed to organic contaminants.

Date published: March 29, 2017
Status: Completed

Scientists Start at the Base of the Food Chain to Understand Contaminant Affects on Energy Cycling in Streams

Study examines the potential adverse effects of fungicides on leaf decomposition by microbes and aquatic invertebrates.

Date published: March 6, 2017
Status: Completed

USGS Scientist Receives Award for Assistance with National Wetlands Assessment

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Dr. Keith A. Loftin received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Water's Achievement in Science and Technology Award for his contributions to the National Wetlands Condition Assessment.

Date published: March 6, 2017
Status: Completed

Frequent Fliers—Web-Based Tool Aids in Understanding the Role of Wild Birds in Transmission of Avian Influenza

This visualization tool helps researchers and public health officials see how relations between poultry density and waterfowl migration routes affect the threat of avian influenza to people and the poultry industry.

Date published: February 24, 2017
Status: Completed

Examining Shifts in Stream Microbial Communities Exposed to Oil and Gas Wastewaters

Shifts in the overall microbial community structure were present in stream sediments that contained chemicals associated with unconventional oil and gas wastewaters. This work is part of a long-term study designed to understand persistence of chemicals from oil and gas wastewaters in sediments and water and how those factors might be related to exposures and adverse health effects, if any, on...

Date published: February 23, 2017
Status: Completed

Nitrate Addition Enhances Arsenic Immobilization in Groundwater

The addition of nitrate in a low oxygen groundwater resulted in the immobilization of naturally occurring dissolved arsenic and the conversion of nitrate to innocuous nitrogen gas.