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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

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Emerging Contaminants in the Environment

USGS scientist in front of a computer inside of a laboratory.
USGS scientists use state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and technologies to test for traces of emerging contaminants in water, sediment, and animal tissue.

USGS scientist operating a liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) instrument.
USGS scientist operating a liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS) instrument used to measure emerging contaminants in water.

USGS scientist siting at a computer examining results of chromatographic analysis.
USGS scientist examining results of chromatographic analysis for emerging contaminants in water. USGS chemists and technicians are developing analytical methods for measuring emerging chemical and microbial contaminants and their associated degradation products in the environment.

An accelerated solvent extractor used to process soil samples.
An accelerated solvent extractor used to process soil samples for the determination of pesticides and pharmaceuticals in soil. USGS scientists have developed or adapted methods to measure emerging contaminants in sediment samples using a variety of gas chromatography/mass spectrometry and liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry analytical techniques.

USGS scientists using an automated accelerated solvents extractor to prepare soil samples.
USGS scientists use an automated accelerated solvents extractor to prepare soil samples from a confined animal feeding operation for analysis of antibiotics.

A liquid chromatograph coupled to a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer (LC/MS/MS).
A liquid chromatograph coupled to a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer (LC/MS/MS) that is used for the quantitative analysis of polar organic molecules, such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

A scientist operating a liquid chromatograph coupled to a triple-quadrupole mass spectrometer.
USGS scientists analyze water samples for pharmaceuticals at environmentally relevant concentrations with an LC/MS/MS instrument capable of detecting ultra-trace concentrations.

The results of a polymerase chain reaction gene detection test. White bands are  individual genes.
The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is one of several types of DNA-based methods used to detect genes (white bands in this picture) in bacteria. This method and others are being used to study the occurrence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and microbial contaminants.

Hogs in pens inside a hog production facility.
Emerging contaminants can originate from a variety of animal- and human-waste sources such as this hog production facility.

Processing tanks at a wastewater treatment plant.
Emerging contaminants can originate from a variety of animal- and human-waste sources such as this wastewater treatment plant.

Wastewater discharge in Arizona.
Wastewater discharges, such as this one in Arizona, were sampled by USGS scientists as part of a study of the persistence of selected emerging contaminants in streams receiving wastewater effluent.

A line of cows in a confined animal feeding operation, New York.
USGS scientists sampled manures from confined animal feeding operations, such as this one in New York, as part of the Source Characterization Study.

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Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 24-Jun-2014 16:41:15 EDT