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Environmental Health Program Introduction

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 that occur naturally and through human activities. The Program's science approach recognizes the interdependence of human and animal health in their shared ecosystems.

The Environmental Health Program brings together the scientific expertise and capabilities of the Contaminant Biology Program (biologists, ecologists, ecotoxicologists, and microbiologists) with those of the Toxic Substances Hydrology Program (hydrologists, geologists, geochemists, geographers, and analytical chemists) into  Integrated Science Teams and a Core Technology Team. Each Team is focused on priority science as defined through administrative, congressional, and stakeholder priorities and well as internal and external science review processes. Collectively the Teams develop and apply advanced analytical methods, field investigations, laboratory studies, and modeling capabilities to understand if environmental contaminants and pathogens pose health concerns and potential pathways for mitigation to prevent exposure.

image showing an arrow depicting environmental contaminant research

The Environmental Health Program is driven by the principle that human health and animal health are interdependent and linked to the health of the shared ecosystems in which they co-exist. The Program utilizes a source-to-receptor framework for known or suspected environmental contaminants that can impact health.  Simply stated this framework includes the basic and applied research on environmental contaminant sources, transport and fate in the environment, where, how, and when humans and wildlife are exposed, and effects wildlife. Scientists collaborate with partners in public health to identify and assess pathways of environmental exposures to the public or if there are any adverse effects on humans. This approach informs responses by public and wildlife health agencies to exposures to environmental contaminants in the environment, while providing research, modeling and analysis to assist resource management decision making.