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Methods used to characterize the chemical composition and biological activity of environmental waters throughout the United States, 2012-14

March 22, 2017

A vast array of chemical compounds are in wide commercial use in the United States, and the potential ecological and human-health effect of exposure to chemical mixtures has been identified as a high priority in environment health science. Awareness of the potential effects of low-level chemical exposures is rising. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, conducted a study in which samples were collected from 38 streams in 25 States to provide an overview of contaminants found in stream water across the Nation. Additionally, biological screening assays were used to help determine any potential ecological and human-health effects of these chemical mixtures and to prioritize target chemicals for future toxicological studies. This report describes the site locations and the sampling and analytical methods and quality-assurance procedures used in the study.