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
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- A critical review of the postulated role of the non-essential amino acid, β-N-methylamino-l-alanine (BMAA) in neurodegenerative disease in humans: Chernoff, N., Hill, D.J., Diggs, D.L., Faison, B.D., Francis, B.M., Lang, J.R., Larue, M.M., Le, T.-T., Loftin, K.A., Lugo, J.N., Schmid, J.E., and Winnik, W.M., 2017, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health--Part B (Critical Reviews), v. 20, no. 4, p. 1-47, doi:10.1080/10937404.2017.1297592 (Advanced Web release).
- Avian influenza virus RNA in groundwater wells supplying poultry farms affected by the 2015 influenza outbreak: Borchardt, M.A., Spencer, S.K., Hubbard, L.E., Firnstahl, A.D., Stokdyk, J.P., and Kolpin, D.W., 2017, Environmental Science and Technology Letters, doi:10.1021/acs.estlett.7b00128 (Advanced Web release).
- Highlighting the complexities of a groundwater pilot study during an avian influenza outbreak--Methods, lessons Learned, and select contaminant results: Hubbard, L.E., Kolpin, D.W., Fields, C.L., Hladik, M.L., and Iwanowicz, L.R., 2017, Environmental Research, v. 158, p. 212-224, doi:10.1016/j.envres.2017.06.010.
- Occurrence, temporal variation, and estrogenic burden of five parabens in sewage sludge collected across the United States: Chen, J., Pycke, B.F.G., Brownawell, B.J., Kinney, C.A., Furlong, E.T., Kolpin, D.W., and Halden, R.U., 2017, Science of the Total Environment, v. 593-594, p. 368-374, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.162.
- Are exposure predictions, used for the prioritisation of pharmaceuticals in the environment, fit for purpose?: Burns, E.E., Thomas-Oates, J., Kolpin, D.W., Furlong, E.T., and Boxall, A.B.A., 2017, Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, doi:10.1002/etc.3842.
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- Aquatic concentrations of chemical analytes compared to ecotoxicity estimates: Kostich, M.S., Flick, R.W., Batt, A.L., Mash, H.E., Boone, J.S., Furlong, E.T., Kolpin, D.W., and Glassmeyer, S.T., 2017, Science of the Total Environment, v. 579, p. 1649-1657, doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.06.234.