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Environmental Health Science Feature Articles

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Dr. Bethany K. Kunz sets up a mobile-mounted dust meter

Program Scientist Receives Award for Research on the Effects of Road Dust Control Chemicals

Dr. Bethany Kunz received the 2017 Environmental Excellence Award from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for her exemplary research to advance knowledge of the effects of transportation on the natural environment. ...

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Municipal biosolids being loaded onto spreader for land application

Multi-State Survey Measures Parabens in Municipal Wastewater Biosolids

Study provides new information about the composition and concentrations of 5 parabens—preservatives in pharmaceuticals and personal care products—present in biosolids collected from 14 municipal wastewater treatment plants across the United States. ...

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Map of the frequency of cyanoHAB occurrence above the WHO high threshold - Florida 2008 through 2011

Satellite Imagery Used to Measure Harmful Algal Bloom Frequency—Steps Toward Understanding Exposure Risk

Study explores the utility and limitations of currently available remotely sensed satellite data for identifying the frequency of harmful algal blooms in the Nation's lakes and reservoirs. This information provides a first step toward the goal of understanding exposure risk to protect the health of humans, pets, livestock, and wildlife. ...

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Microscopic image of Dolichospermum circinale - bar is 10 micrometers in length

Cyanobacteria from 2016 Lake Okeechobee Harmful Algal Bloom Photo-Documented

New report provides photographic documentation and identification of the cyanobacteria present in Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River, and St. Lucie Canal during an extensive algal bloom in 2016. ...

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Aerial photograph of a 2016 cyanobacterial bloom on Lake Okeechobee, Florida_

Evaluating Linkages Between Algal Toxins and Human Health

The amino acid β-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA) is produced by cyanobacteria and has been suggested by human health researchers as a causal factor for degenerative neurological diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Parkinsonism, and dementia. An objective review concluded that this hypothesis is not supported by existing data. ...

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Three scientists holding a sediment core. The core is in a plastic tube

Program Scientist Receives Meritorious Service Award

Dr. Isabelle M. Cozzarelli received the U.S. Department of Interior's second highest honorary award—the Meritorious Service Award—for her numerous contributions to understanding the biogeochemical controls of contaminant degradation in groundwater and near-surface environments. ...

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Two photos of Dr. Denise Akob (top) and Dr. Karl Haase (bottom) giving a laboratory tour

Two Scientists Receive Early Career Excellence in Leadership Award

The USGS 2016 Early Career Excellence in Leadership Award was given to Dr. Denise M. Akob and Dr. Karl B. Haase. Drs. Akob and Haase have demonstrated outstanding leadership through their scientific accomplishments and service to the USGS. ...

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USGS scientist measuring dissolved oxygen

Trace Levels of Organic Chemicals Limited to Local Reaches of a Stream near an Oil and Gas Wastewater Disposal Facility

Organic contaminants that were present in Wolf Creek near a wastewater disposal facility were not evident farther downstream where Wolf Creek enters the New River. Wolf Creek and the New River are used for drinking water and recreational purposes. ...

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USGS scientist collecting groundwater samples

Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances From Firefighting and Domestic Wastewater Remain in Groundwater for Decades

New study explores the persistence and transport of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) that originated from both firefighting and domestic wastewater sources. Although the fire training area and wastewater facility were decommissioned over 20 years ago, both sites continue to be sources of PFASs to groundwater. ...

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USGS scientist collecting water-quality samples from the Enoree River, SC

Study Highlights the Complexity of Chemical Mixtures in United States Streams

A new study highlights the complexity of chemical mixtures in streams and advances the understanding of wildlife and human exposure to complex chemical mixtures. ...

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Golden eagle chick in nest with ground squirrel and raptor carcasses

New Method Improves Measurement of Bullet Fragments in Culled Varmints

A creative combination of radiography and techniques borrowed from meat processing and gold prospecting led to a better method for determining the lead content in ground squirrels shot by hunters to evaluate potential exposure risk to avian scavengers such as golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos). ...

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A water tank

Understanding Chemical and Microbial Contaminants in Public Drinking Water

Collaborative joint agency study provides nationally consistent and rigorously quality-assured datasets on a wide range of chemical and microbial contaminants present in source and treated public drinking water supplies. Tap water was not analyzed in this study. ...

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Tree swallow nestlings (Tachycineta bicolor) in a nesting box

Low Levels of Contaminants Found in Great Lakes Tree Swallow Nestlings

Tree swallow nestlings at most study sites in the Great Lakes basin were minimally exposed to organic contaminants. ...

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USGS scientists recording inforamtion on water-quality samples and field water-quality parameters

Scientists Start at the Base of the Food Chain to Understand Contaminant Affects on Energy Cycling in Streams

Study examines the potential adverse effects of fungicides on leaf decomposition by microbes and aquatic invertebrates. ...

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Dr. Diann J. Prosser examining a ruddy shelduck

Presidential Early Career Award Given to Environmental Health Researcher Diann Prosser

Dr. Diann J. Prosser was awarded the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The PECASE is the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. ...

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Dr. Keith A. Loftin in a laboratory

USGS Scientist Receives Award for Assistance with National Wetlands Assessment

USGS scientist Dr. Keith A. Loftin received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Water's Achievement in Science and Technology Award for his contributions to the National Wetlands Condition Assessment. ...

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Screen shot of the USGS avian influenza interactive web application

Frequent Fliers—Web-Based Tool Aids in Understanding the Role of Wild Birds in Transmission of Avian Influenza

This visualization tool helps researchers and public health officials see how relations between poultry density and waterfowl migration routes affect the threat of avian influenza to people and the poultry industry. ...

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USGS scientist are collecting water samples on the wastewater disposal facility

Examining Shifts in Stream Microbial Communities Exposed to Oil and Gas Wastewaters

Shifts in the overall microbial community structure were present in stream sediments that contained chemicals associated with unconventional oil and gas wastewaters. This work is part of a long-term study designed to understand persistence of chemicals from oil and gas wastewaters in sediments and water and how those factors might be related to exposures and adverse health effects, if any, on organisms. ...

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USGS scientist collecting a groundwater sample

Nitrate Addition Enhances Arsenic Immobilization in Groundwater

The addition of nitrate in a low oxygen groundwater resulted in the immobilization of naturally occurring dissolved arsenic and the conversion of nitrate to innocuous nitrogen gas. ...

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