Environmental Health - Toxic Substances Hydrology Program

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Silver can Affect Fish Reproduction in San Francisco Bay

USGS scientists have been studying the effects of silver on reproduction in marine life in the San Francisco Bay. Traditional biological-assessment methods conducted in a laboratory indicate little adverse effects from silver, especially on fish, at environmentally relevant concentrations. Field studies, however, show significant reproductive damage associated with exposure to silver. Thus, the field studies raise a cautionary flag regarding the use of traditional laboratory-based assessments for decision making. The City of Palo Alto, California, has used results from the USGS study to indicate the value of its improved wastewater treatment and source-reduction programs. The City has received national awards for its source-reduction program, part of which involves the use of USGS data.


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