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Environmental Health Program

The Environmental Health Program (Contaminant Biology and Toxic Substances Hydrology) supports integrated natural science expertise and capabilities across the USGS related to environmental contaminants and pathogens. This one-health approach recognizes the interdependence of human and animal health and the health of ecosystems that they share. 

News

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USGS EcoNews | Winter 2024 - Vol. 5 | Issue 1

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Friday's Findings: Environmental Contaminants and Agricultural Production

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USGS partners with Havasupai Tribe to identify potential contaminant exposure pathways from Grand Canyon uranium mining

Publications

An assessment of HgII to preserve carbonate system parameters in organic-rich estuarine waters

This work assesses the effectiveness of sample preservation techniques for measurements of pHT (total scale), total dissolved inorganic carbon (CT), and total alkalinity (AT) in organic-rich estuarine waters as well as the internal consistency of measurements and calculations (e.g., AT, pHT, and CT) in these waters. Using mercuric chloride (HgCl2)-treated and untreated water samples, measurements

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Christopher Moore, Robert H. Byrne, Kimberly Yates

Attenuation of barium, strontium, cobalt, and nickel plumes formed during microbial iron-reduction in a crude-oil-contaminated aquifer

We assessed the spatial distribution of 35 elements in aquifer sediments and groundwater of a crude-oil-contaminated aquifer and show evidence of the dissolution of barium (Ba), strontium (Sr), cobalt (Co), and nickel (Ni) during hydrocarbon oxidation coupled to historic microbial Fe(III)-reduction near the oil. Trace element plumes occur in the crude-oil-contaminated aquifer, where 50% Co, 47% Ni
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Katherine Jones, Brady Ziegler, Audrey Davis, Isabelle M. Cozzarelli

Nitrifying microorganisms linked to biotransformation of perfluoroalkyl sulfonamido precursors from legacy aqueous film forming foams

Drinking water supplies across the United States have been contaminated by firefighting and fire-training activities that use aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Much of the AFFF is manufactured using electrochemical fluorination by 3M. Precursors with six perfluorinated carbons (C6) and non-fluorinated amine substituents make up approximately o
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Bridger J. Ruyle, Lara Schultes, Denise M. Akob, Cassandra Rashan Harris, Michelle Lorah, Simon Vojta, Jitka Becanova, Shelly McCann, Heidi M. Pickard, Ann Pearson, Rainer Lohmann, Chad D. Vecitis, Elsie M. Sunderland

Science

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6PPD-Quinone

6PPD-Q is a compound used to make tires more durable and is also linked to toxicity for Coho Salmon and other aquatic species.
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Increased Mercury, Reduced Insect Diversity, and Food Web impacts from Historical Mercury Mining

U.S. Geological Survey scientists are seeking to understand the impacts of mercury mining on headwater streams, organisms, and food webs, focused on potential effects from historical mining in central Idaho. Mercury associated with mine waste can leave a legacy of contamination that continues to impact stream health in culturally and ecologically important headwater streams after mining activities...
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Increased Mercury, Reduced Insect Diversity, and Food Web impacts from Historical Mercury Mining

U.S. Geological Survey scientists are seeking to understand the impacts of mercury mining on headwater streams, organisms, and food webs, focused on potential effects from historical mining in central Idaho. Mercury associated with mine waste can leave a legacy of contamination that continues to impact stream health in culturally and ecologically important headwater streams after mining activities...
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Toxin Producing Algae Across U.S. Landscapes—Are They Gaining a Foothold?

There are still many unknowns related to the occurrence and potential range of various types of algae in inland waters. To fill some of these gaps, scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently published a review and synthesis of toxic algae in inland waters of the conterminous United States .
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Toxin Producing Algae Across U.S. Landscapes—Are They Gaining a Foothold?

There are still many unknowns related to the occurrence and potential range of various types of algae in inland waters. To fill some of these gaps, scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently published a review and synthesis of toxic algae in inland waters of the conterminous United States .
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