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: 145
Date published: June 16, 2016
Status: Completed

Synthetic Progestin Affects Fish Reproductive Development and Behavior in Laboratory Exposure Study

Scientists conducted laboratory experiments on levonorgestrel (a synthetic progestin) and observed differential effects to males (reproductive behavior) and females (masculinization) of eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki).

Date published: June 7, 2016
Status: Completed

Distinct Microbiomes Identified in Landfills Throughout the United States

A comprehensive study by U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and scientists from the University of Oklahoma finds distinct microbial assemblages (microbiomes) in landfill leachate across the United States and investigates factors related to microbiome formation.

Date published: May 31, 2016
Status: Completed

New Study on Cyanotoxins in Lakes and Reservoirs Provides Insights into Assessing Health Risks

Newly published study provides new evidence of the widespread occurrence of cyanotoxins in lakes and reservoirs of the United States and offers new insights into measures used for assessing potential recreational health risks.

Date published: May 12, 2016
Status: Completed

Iodinated Disinfection Byproducts found in Dairy-Impacted Wastewaters and Streams

Iodinated disinfection byproducts were found at stream locations downstream from treated discharge from wastewater treatment plants that receive dairy waste and in the wastewaters directly from dairy facilities.

Date published: May 9, 2016
Status: Completed

Indication of Unconventional Oil and Gas Wastewaters Found in Local Surface Waters

Evidence indicating the presence of wastewaters from unconventional oil and gas (UOG) production was found in surface waters and surficial sediments near an UOG disposal facility in West Virginia.

Date published: April 25, 2016
Status: Completed

Importance of Lake Sediments in Removal of Cyanobacteria, Viruses, and Dissolved Organic Carbon

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists determined that the colmation layer (top 25 centimeters of lake sediments) was highly effective in removing cyanobacteria, viruses, and dissolved organic carbon during water passage through the lake bottom to aquifer sediments.

Contacts: Ronald W Harvey
Date published: March 31, 2016
Status: Completed

U.S. Geological Survey Identifies Crude-Oil Metabolites in Subsurface Plumes

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists studying two subsurface crude-oil spill sites in Minnesota measured concentrations of oil breakdown products (metabolites) at greater concentrations than parent compound concentrations.

Date published: March 24, 2016
Status: Completed

New Sediment-Toxicity Benchmarks Available for Pesticides in Whole Sediment

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists developed 129 sediment-toxicity benchmarks for use in evaluating currently used pesticides in whole sediment.

Date published: March 4, 2016
Status: Completed

U.S. Geological Survey Scientist Recognized as Highly Cited Researcher

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientist Dr. Edward T. Furlong has been designated a Thomson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher, ranking among the top 1 percent of researchers from 2003 to 2013 for most cited documents in their specific field (Environment/Ecology). He was listed in Thomson Reuters' "The World's Most Influential...

Date published: March 3, 2016
Status: Completed

U.S. Geological Survey Develops Approach to Assess Baseline Chemical and Radiological Conditions Prior to Uranium Mining near Grand Canyon National Park

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists developed an approach and collected baseline data to quantitatively assess offsite migration of mine-related contaminants and to identify critical contaminant exposure pathways that could result from uranium mining activities in the Grand Canyon region.

Date published: February 17, 2016
Status: Completed

U.S. Geological Survey Scientists Complete First Systematic Regional Survey of Algal Toxins in Streams of the Southeastern United States

U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists detected microcystin—an algal toxin—in 39 percent of 75 streams assessed in the southeastern United States. These results will inform and become part of a larger, systematic national survey of algal toxins in small streams of the United States.

Date published: February 10, 2016
Status: Completed

Soil Disturbance Can Increase Stream Salinity in Semiarid Watersheds

Soil disturbance from construction of roads, pipelines, and well pads on naturally salt-rich soils was determined to be a potential factor resulting in increased salinity in a southern Wyoming stream. Construction can expose salt-rich soils in the subsurface to increased contact with rain and snow, thus mobilizing salts through runoff or water percolating into soils.