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Chemical mixtures and environmental effects: a pilot study to assess ecological exposure and effects in streams

July 1, 2015

Assessment and management of the risks of exposure to complex chemical mixtures in streams are priorities for human and environmental health organizations around the world. The current lack of information on the composition and variability of environmental mixtures and a limited understanding of their combined effects are fundamental obstacles to timely identification and prevention of adverse human and ecological effects of exposure. This report describes the design of a field-based study of the composition and biological activity of chemical mixtures in U.S. stream waters affected by a wide range of human activities and contaminant sources. The study is a collaborative effort by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Scientists sampled 38 streams spanning 24 States and Puerto Rico. Thirty-four of the sites were located in watersheds impacted by multiple contaminant sources, including industrial and municipal wastewater discharges, crop and animal agricultural runoff, urban runoff, and other point and nonpoint contaminant sources. The remaining four sites were minimally development reference watersheds. All samples underwent comprehensive chemical and biological characterization, including sensitive and specific direct analysis for over 700 dissolved organic and inorganic chemicals and field parameters, identification of unknown contaminants (environmental diagnostics), and a variety of bioassays to evaluate biological activity and toxicity.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2015
Title Chemical mixtures and environmental effects: a pilot study to assess ecological exposure and effects in streams
DOI 10.3133/ofr20151113
Authors Herbert T. Buxton, Timothy J. Reilly, Kathryn Kuivila, Dana W. Kolpin, Paul M. Bradley, Daniel L. Villeneuve, Marc A. Mills
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2015-1113
Index ID ofr20151113
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Office of the AD Energy and Minerals, and Environmental Health