Our ability to measure contaminants currently exceeds our understanding of their potential environmental effects.
For most emerging contaminants, there is currently little information regarding their potential toxicological significance in ecosystems -- particularly effects from long-term, low-level environmental exposures. Correlations between occurrence of emerging contaminants in the environment with occurrence in the tissue of aquatic biota are investigated in this project and used where possible in development and testing of hypotheses on biological effects. Evaluating ecological effects of environmental contamination goes beyond observing co-occurrence of contaminants and adverse effects to documenting cause and effect relationships. Research to characterize cause-and-effect relationships requires documentation of contaminant uptake, modes of action, and biological endpoints.
Emerging Chemical Contaminants
Emerging Microbial Contaminants
The contamination of the environment with antibiotics and other emerging contaminants may result in changes in the microbial ecology of that environment, possibly changing the types of bacteria that carry out important ecosystem processes such as nutrient transformations and biomass decomposition. In addition, antibiotic-resistant bacteria may survive and transfer their resistance to other bacteria, perhaps resulting in human health effects. This project examines the occurrence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria at beaches, on plant surfaces, and in the soil, and relates findings to environmental conditions, and human activities to better understand the implications of emerging chemical use. Such studies have been conducted in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and with local public health departments.
Related Science Features
- Cyanotoxins of inland lakes of the United States--Occurrence and potential recreational health risks in the EPA National Lakes Assessment 2007: Loftin, K., A., Graham, J.L., Hiborn, E.D., Lehmann, S.C., Meyer, M.T., Dietze, J.E., and Griffith, C.B., 2016, Harmful Algae, v. 56, p. 77-90, doi:10.1016/j.hal.2016.04.001.
- Complex mixtures, complex responses--Assessing pharmaceutical mixtures using field and laboratory approaches: Schoenfuss, H.L., Furlong, E.T., Phillips, P.J., Scott, T.-M., Kolpin, D.W., Cetkovic-Cvrlje, M., Lesteberg, K.E., and Rearick, D.C., 2015, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, doi:10.1002/etc.3147 (Advanced Web release).
- Potential estrogenic effects of wastewaters on gene expression in Pimephales promelas and fish assemblages in streams of southeastern New York: Baldigo, B.P., George, S.D., Phillips, P.J., Hemming, J.D.C., Denslow, N.D., and Kroll, K.J., 2015, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, doi:10.1002/etc.3120 (In Press).
- Integrated assessment of wastewater treatment plant effluent estrogenicity in the upper Murray River, Australia, using the native Murray rainbowfish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis): Vajda, A.M., Kumar, A., Woods, M., Williams, M., Doan, H., Tolsher, P., Kookana, R.S., and Barber, L.B., 2015, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, v. 34, no. 5, p. 1078-1087, doi:10.1002/etc.2895.
- Predicting characteristics of rainfall driven estrogen runoff and transport from swine AFO spray fields: Lee, B., Kullman, S.W., Yost, E.E., Meyer, M.T., Worley-Davis, L., Williams, C.M., and Reckhow, K.H., 2015, Science of the Total Environment, v. 532, p. 571-580, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.06.051.
- Suburbanization, estrogen contamination, and sex ratio in wild amphibian populations: Lambert, M.R., Giller, G.S.J., Barber, L.B., Fitzgerald, K.C., and Skelly, D.K., 2015, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 112, no. 38, p. 11881-11886, doi:10.1073/pnas.1501065112.
- Genes indicative of zoonotic and swine pathogens are persistent in stream water and sediment following a swine manure spill: Haack, S.K., Duris, J.W., Kolpin, D.W., Fogarty, L.R., Johnson, H.E., Gibson, K.E., Focazio, M., Schwab, K.J., Hubbard, L.E., and Foreman, W.T., 2015, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, v. 81, no. 10, p. 3430-3441, doi:10.1128/aem.04195-14.