USGS - science for a changing world

Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

Investigations - Contaminants of Emerging Concern in the Environment

Transport and Fate

In order to minimize ecological effects, it is essential to understand how a contaminant moves and is altered in the environment.
Diagram showing processes controlling the fate of organic contaminants in the Mississippi River
Figure obtained from USGS Circular 1133, p. 114-135
(Click image for a larger version)

Research provides a basic understanding of the biologic, chemical, and hydrologic processes that affect partitioning into various environmental media (e.g. water, sediment and tissue) and chemical and microbial transformation. These processes can have a significant effect on the potential toxicity of a contaminant.

Emerging Chemical Contaminants

Emerging Microbial Contaminants

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