The USGS Role in Public Health Science

Earth Science and Public Health: Proceedings of the Second National Conference on USGS Health-Related Research

Edited by Herbert T. Buxton, Dale W. Griffin, and Brenda S. Pierce

Scientific Investigations Report 2008-5022

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This publication is downloadable (863Kb) in PDF format.

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The abstracts in this volume that were written to by U.S. Geological Survey authors were reviewed and approved for publication by the Survey. Abstracts submitted by researchers from academia and from state and other Federal agencies are published as part of these proceedings, but do not necessarily reflect the Survey´s policies and views.


The mission of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is to serve the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life. As the Nation’s largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency, the USGS can play a significant role in providing scientific knowledge and information that will improve our understanding of the relations of environment and wildlife to human health and disease. USGS human health-related research is unique in the Federal government because it brings together a broad spectrum of natural science expertise and information, including extensive data collection and monitoring on varied landscapes and ecosystems across the Nation.

USGS can provide a great service to the public health community by synthesizing the scientific information and knowledge on our natural and living resources that influence human health, and by bringing this science to the public health community in a manner that is most useful. Partnerships with health scientists and managers are essential to the success of these efforts. USGS scientists already are working closely with the public health community to pursue rigorous inquiries into the connections between natural science and public health. Partnering agencies include the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, Mine Safety and Health Administration, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Public Health Service, and the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. Collaborations between public health scientists and earth scientists can lead to improved solutions for existing and emerging environmental health problems.

This report summarizes the presentations and discussions held at the Second National Conference on USGS Health-Related Research, held at the USGS national headquarters in Reston, Virginia. The report presents 68 abstracts of technical presentations made at the conference and summaries of six topical breakout sessions. The abstracts cover a broad range of issues and demonstrate connections between human health and the quality and condition of our environment and wildlife. The summaries of the topical breakout sessions present ideas for advancing interdisciplinary science in areas of earth science and human health.





Conference Purpose and Design

Conference Agenda and Speakers


Human Health Overview Topics

Earth Materials and Health

Human Health and our Natural and Developed Environments: The USGS Role in Public Health Science

Evaluating the Use of Stable Isotope and Uncertainty Analyses to Model Aquatic Environmental and Public Health Indicators

Toxic Substances Hydrology Program Activities Related to Human Health

GSA Geology and Health Division: Promoting Research, Education, and Practice in Sister Sciences

BS/MPH Degree Program: Geology and Human Health – Global to Self

Building Bridges for Collaboration between the Geosciences and Health Sciences: A Cross-disciplinary Training Conference

Interdisciplinary Science in Support of Environmental Health along the United States – Mexico Border

Exposure to Toxic Contaminants in Air, Dust and Soil

A Fall of Moondust: Assessing the Heath Effects of Exposure to Lunar Soil

Research by the U.S. Geological Survey on the Occurrences of and Human Exposures to Potential Toxicants and Pathogens in Air, Dusts, and Soils

Respiratory Health among Navajos as Impacted by Coal Combustion

Long-distance Transport of Persistent Organic Pollutants and Trace Metals in Saharan Dust Air Masses

Airborne Microorganisms and African Desert Dust over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, Ocean Drilling Program, Leg 209

The Western Canada Study: Assessing Risk to Cattle and Wildlife of Emissions from Natural Gas-Related Activities

Health Effects from Indoor Air Pollution in Rural People´s Republic of China Related to Domestic Combustion of Coal

Natural Sources and Natural Fluxes of Atmospheric Deposition of Trace Metals

Estimation of Population Exposure to Ozone Using Shape Function Interpolation Methods

Health Implications of Inorganic Mercury Exposure in Gorlovka, Ukraine

Physiologically Based Extraction Studies of Baseline and Impacted Soils

Geologic Controls on Chromium and Nickel in Soils of the Sacramento Valley, California: Links to Human Health Issues

A Planned Soil Geochemical and Microbiological Survey of North America: Continental scale pilot study in Canada and the United States

You´re Standing on it! Parking Lot Sealcoat and Urban PAHs

Worldwide Asbestos Consumption since the 1960s

Community Deprivation, Minority Concentration and Human-Made Toxic Environment: A National Ecological Analysis in the US

Chemical and Pathogen Exposure through Drinking Water

Epidemiologic Studies of Drinking Water Contaminants

Drinking Water Science in the U. S. Geological Survey

Adsorption as a Control on Tungsten Concentration in Groundwater: Laboratory Experiments and an Example from Fallon, NV

Early-warning Monitoring for Water Security: Evaluation of Water-Quality Variability in a Distribution System

Effects of Elevated Zn, Cu and Fe in Drinking Water on Learning and Memory

Potential Public Health Implications of Exposure to Arsenic from Private Drinking Water Wells in the United States

Cyanotoxins in Midwestern Lakes

North-to-South Position of Mississippi River States and their Health Rank

Pesticides and Pesticide Degradates: Their Occurrence and Removal in Drinking Water

Assessing the Vulnerability of a Public Supply Well in the Karstic Upper Floridan Aquifer to Contaminants of Public Health Concern

Reconstructing Historical Exposure to Volatile Organic Compound Contamination of Drinking Water Supplies at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina: An Epidemiological Study of Childhood Birth Defects and Cancers

Health Effects of Toxic Organic Substances from Coal in Drinking Water: Balkan Endemic Nephropathy (BEN) and Pandemic Nephropathy (PEN)

Volatile Organic Compounds in Samples from Domestic and Public Wells

Volatile Organic Compounds in the Nation´s Drinking-Water Supply Wells-What Findings May Mean to Human Health

Animals as Sentinels of Human Health

Animals as Sentinels of Human Health

Cavity-Nesting Birds: Sentinels for Human Health

Exposure and Effects of Dioxins on Birds: A Case Study Using Tree Swallows

Human Consumption of Bioaccumulative and Other Chemical and Pathogenic Contaminants

Bioaccumulative Substances in the Environment: Sources, Exposure Pathways, and Health Effects

Application of Municipal Biosolids to Dry-Land Wheat Fields – A Monitoring Program near Deer Trail, Colorado (USA)

Paleozoic Stone Coal (Carbonaceous Shale) Use For Domestic And Industrial Combustion In Rural China: Environmental Consequences

Mapping Mercury Sensitivity of Aquatic Ecosystems across the Contiguous United States

How Sulfur Contamination and Atmospheric Mercury Deposition Influence Methylmercury Production and Bioaccumulation in the Everglades

Chemical and Pathogen Exposure through Recreational Waters

The Need for Alternative Health Risk Indicators Due to Non-Fecal Inputs of E. coli and Enterococci from Papermill Effluents into Recreational Waters

USGS Beach Research–Current Activities and Future Prospects

Swimming Advisory Forecast Estimate (Project SAFE): A New Approach for Predicting E. coli Counts at Five Lake Michigan Beaches

Indicators of Shiga-Toxin Producing Escherichia coli in Ambient Water Monitoring Fecal Coliform Bacteria Cultures

Partitioning of E. coli within a Beachshed

Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci and Cephalosporin-Resistant Escherichia coli Detected in Stream Waters

Nowcasting Bacterial Levels and Beach Advisories at Lake Erie Beaches

Human Fecal Pathogen Contamination in the Recreational Marine Waters of the Florida Keys

Detection of Genes Indicating Shiga-Toxin Producing Escherichia coli and Human Pathogenic Enterococci in U.S. Surface Waters

Potentially Harmful Cyanotoxins in Drinking and Recreational Waters

Impact of Bird Use on the Water Quality in Managed Wetlands

Potential Exposure to Trematode Parasites in Biscayne National Park through the Non-native Gastropod Melanoides Tuberculatus

Zoonotic and Vector-Borne Diseases

Public Health Aspects of Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases: The Relationship Between Disease Occurrence and the Earth Sciences, and Contributions by USGS to Disease Prevention and Control

Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases: USGS´s Role in Public Health

Forecasting the Space/Time Spread of West Nile Virus

Contributions to Understanding Transmission, Spread, and Persistence of West Nile Virus

Efficient Surveillance and Management of Vector-Borne Diseases in Natural Areas

Multi-temporal Remote Sensing of Soil Moisture and Vector-borne Disease Potential in the Rio Grande Delta, South Texas/North Tamaulipas, US-Mexico Border Area

Epidemic Malaria Early Warning System for Africa

Avian Influenza Viruses in Water and Sediments of the Atlantic Migratory Flyway

Image-based Environmental Health Initiatives at USGS EROS

Summary of Topical Breakout Sessions

Cross-cutting Coordination and Integration

Exposure to Toxic Contaminants in Air, Dust, and Soil

Chemical and Pathogen Exposure through Drinking Water

Animals as Sentinels of Human Health

Human Consumption of Bioaccumulative and Other Chemical and Pathogenic Contaminants

Chemical and Pathogen Exposure through Recreational Waters

Zoonotic and Vector-Borne Diseases

Conference Organizing Committee

This publication is downloadable (863Kb) in PDF format.

To view or print PDF files, the freely downloadable Adobe Acrobat Reader® may be used.

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