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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances


Pesticide Contamination and Environmental Exposure

USGS scientists sitting on an island in the middle of a lake, Isle Royale National Park, Mich.
USGS scientists studied the transport of herbicides by rain to the pristine waters of Isle Royale National Park, Mich., located in Lake Superior on the United States-Canadian border. Results of the study showed that herbicides can be transported to pristine areas and result in detectable concentrations in streams and lakes. -- from the Pesticide Contamination in Varied Pesticide-Use Settings Investigation

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New pesticides are developed continually, and increasingly, degradation byproducts of legacy and current-use pesticides are discovered. Information on the environmental occurrence of these chemicals is needed to evaluate their potential environmental and human health significance. This project activity has two-fold objectives: (1) develop methods to measure new pesticides and their byproducts in samples of various environmental media at concentrations relevant to assessing their persistence, transport, and fate; and (2) gather information on the environmental occurrence of these chemicals in sensitive and/or susceptible ecosystems near areas of common use of the pesticide, such as areas of similar land use, crop types, and/or farming practices. Pesticide-use studies in selected settings include:

Herbicides and other Agricultural Chemicals -- Midwest Cornbelt

Cotton Agriculture -- Southern United States

Agricultural Chemicals in Ground Water -- Plains, Georgia [Completed]

Transport of Herbicides in Streams and Shallow Ground Water , Cedar River, Iowa [Completed]

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