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: 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.

Date published: March 11, 2019

President Proposes $983 Million FY20 Budget for USGS

Budget Focuses on Priorities Supporting American Energy Enterprise, National Security, and Natural Hazard Response Efforts


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.