EPA Science Matters Newsletter
EPA's Science Matters newsletter delivers the latest from EPA's Office of Research and Development straight to your inbox. Keep scrolling to read recent stories. Sign up to receive the newsletter.
A Better Way: An Application for Risk Characterization of HABs on the Ohio River
August 2, 2022 - In 2015, an unprecedented algal bloom in the Ohio River caught many communities by surprise. Since then, EPA researchers have been working with water quality managers to address a gap in scientific research regarding the ability to predict harmful algal blooms on rivers. Read A Better Way: An Application for Risk Characterization of HABs on the Ohio River.
EPA Grantees Advance Use and Applications of Air Monitoring Sensors to Protect Public Health
August 2, 2022 - EPA grantees developed a toolkit to help California communities select, use, and maintain low-cost air sensors and interpret the collected data. The grantee research team engaged, educated, and empowered communities to understand the benefits of using low-cost air sensors to track air quality. Read EPA Grantees Advance Use and Applications of Air Monitoring Sensors to Protect Public Health.
Monkeypox: Applying What We Know About Biological Agents to Prepare for Emerging Public Health Threats
July 19, 2022 - EPA researchers have been studying the persistence of biological agents, including pox viruses, under various conditions for over a decade. This information has been crucial for public health officials responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it is being used to assist state, local, and tribal communities in instituting preventative measures that will reduce the spread of the monkeypox virus. Read Monkeypox: Applying What We Know About Biological Agents to Prepare for Emerging Public Health Threats.
How Do Pesticides Affect Frogs? EPA Researchers Conduct Uptake and Toxicity Studies to Find Out
July 19, 2022 - Frogs have unique contamination routes and can be directly and indirectly exposed to pesticides throughout different stages of their life cycles. To help address this problem, EPA scientists have conducted multiple studies over a 10-year period to better understand how pesticides affect juvenile and adult frogs. Read How Do Pesticides Affect Frogs? EPA Researchers Conduct Uptake and Toxicity Studies to Find Out.
Nature’s Lawnmowers: How One EPA Facility Uses Goats for Eco-Friendly Landscaping
July 19, 2022 - Each summer, EPA's facility in Narragansett, Rhode Island, hosts a team of rescue goats to to clear the grounds of any unwanted or overgrown plants. These goat landscapers (known as goatscapers) are brought in to manage the lawns in place of using traditional landscaping practices. The goats clear invasive and overgrown plants, and in turn, they have lots of food to eat. Read Nature’s Lawnmowers: How One EPA Facility Uses Goats for Eco-Friendly Landscaping.
EPA Research Improves Air Quality Information for the Public on the AirNow Fire and Smoke Map
July 5, 2022- Air sensors have become increasingly popular for measuring air pollution across the United States, particularly during wildfires. EPA researchers want to make it easier to compare the data from air sensors with data from highly accurate monitors. Read EPA Research Improves Air Quality Information for the Public on the AirNow Fire and Smoke Map.
EPA Researchers Monitor Contamination in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin by Measuring Swan Waste
June 22, 2022- EPA researchers are using a One Health approach to monitor contamination in the Coeur d’Alene River basin. By monitoring the feeding habits and lead levels of a local migratory bird, the Tundra Swan, the research team can learn more about the contamination levels in the river basin and monitor the ongoing clean-up effort. Read EPA Researchers Monitor Contamination in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin by Measuring Swan Waste.
CyANWeb Tool Helps Monitor Water Quality to Detect Early Warning Signs of Harmful Algal Blooms
June 22, 2022- Harmful algal blooms (HABs) can increase drinking water treatment costs for communities and impact recreational areas such as lakes. To notify communities about potential HABs, EPA researchers created CyANWeb, an online tool that can help federal, state, tribal, and local partners identify when a HAB may be forming where people swim, fish, or boat. Read CyANWeb Tool Helps Monitor Water Quality to Detect Early Warning Signs of Harmful Algal Blooms.
Getting to Know Communities and Cultures: EPA Using Social Science to Protect Human Health and the Environment
June 22, 2022- Hurricanes, severe storms, and flooding impact millions of people and cause billions of dollars of damage every year. EPA researchers are using social science approaches—which involve analyzing social behavior of human beings—to better understand the needs of those impacted from a hurricane or severe storm and providing outreach and education that promotes community resilience following a disaster. Read Getting to Know Communities and Cultures: EPA Using Social Science to Protect Human Health and the Environment.
EPA Scientists and Partners Team Up to Tackle Cape Cod’s Nutrient Pollution and Protect Water Quality
June 7, 2022- Like many places in the country, Cape Cod’s coastal waters are under stress from excess nutrients. EPA researchers are collaborating with federal, state, and community partners with the common goal of restoring the water quality and natural ecosystems on which the region depends. Read EPA Scientists and Partners Team Up to Tackle Cape Cod’s Nutrient Pollution and Protect Water Quality.
Protecting Your Health from Air Pollution with Diets Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
June 7, 2022-Can regularly consuming omega-3 fatty acids help protect you from outdoor air pollution? EPA’s PISCES study, named for the Latin word for “the fish,” has shown that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may help to reduce adverse effects of air pollution on the cardiovascular system in the short term. Read Protecting Your Health from Air Pollution with Diets Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
EPA Creates Database to Find Thermal Treatment Processes for Remediating PFAS
June 7, 2022-Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) persist in the environment and can be hard to destroy. EPA's PFAS Thermal Treatment Database (PFASTT) is an easy-to-use online tool that provides referenced information on the use of different thermal treatment processes for the remediation of PFAS. PFASTT can be used to help make decisions for effective PFAS treatment processes, plan for future treatment plant upgrades, recognize research needs, and more. Read EPA Creates Database to Find Thermal Treatment Processes for Remediating PFAS.
EPA Expands Air Monitoring Capabilities to Support Wildfire-Impacted States, Tribes and Their Frontline Firefighters
June 7, 2022- Sharing current and accurate information about wildfire smoke is very important to people in areas affected by wildfires, especially where monitoring data are sparse or absent. During the 2022 wildfire season, EPA is helping federal, state, local and tribal organizations monitor and map smoke during wildfire events by sharing equipment in areas that are affected by wildfire smoke. Read EPA Expands Air Monitoring Capabilities to Support Wildfire-Impacted States, Tribes and Their Frontline Firefighters.
Making Microplastic Identification More Accessible
May 24, 2022 - Given their variety in size and shape, there's no "one-size-fits-all" approach for measuring microplastics in the environment. Researchers at EPA recently developed a new method for identifying and counting microplastics in environmental sediment samples. Learn about their new method and how they recently used it in a case study in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Read Making Microplastic Identification More Accessible.
EPA Experts Support the Next Generation of Environmental Researchers at Student Design Contest
May 24, 2022 - As part of a national design contest, EPA planned and co-sponsored a task for students to design an online system for monitoring virus removal for water reuse. The teams presented innovative, well-designed, and practical solutions that EPA researchers and others can further consider as they continue to advance the science of water reuse. Read EPA Experts Support the Next Generation of Environmental Researchers at Student Design Contest.
Operators, Transform and Roll Out! Repurposing Commercial and Municipal Equipment for Disaster Response
May 24, 2022 - During a large-scale disaster, it can be costly and sometimes impossible to rely on specialized equipment or highly trained individuals to operate the technology needed to respond. EPA is collaborating with the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to identify and evaluate commercial and municipal equipment --such as a road salt truck, a fire truck, or a golf course maintenance vehicle--that can rapidly be repurposed for emergency response activities. Read Operators, Transform and Roll Out! Repurposing Commercial and Municipal Equipment for Disaster Response.
Advancing EPA’s Understanding of the Next Generation of Pesticides
May 9, 2022 - Over the past decade, EPA has received an increasing number of pesticide product applications that potentially contain nanomaterials. To help the Agency evaluate this emerging technology, an EPA research team conducted an exhaustive search for patents and published literature related to nanopesticides to understand the state-of-the-science. Read Advancing EPA’s Understanding of the Next Generation of Pesticides.
Win-Win: Using Green Infrastructure to Maximize Ecosystem Benefits
May 9, 2022 - EPA researchers are working together to advance green infrastructure techniques in communities around the country. Learn about their efforts - including work with partners in St. Louis to improve stormwater management and more equitably address a range of other community needs through environmental improvement projects. Read Win-Win: Using Green Infrastructure to Maximize Ecosystem Benefits.
EPA’s Reactive Fish Sculpture Turns Water Quality Data into Art
April 26, 2022- EPA’s Village Blue Lake Pontchartrain project is showcasing science through art in New Orleans. EPA scientists engineered Gil, a reactive fish sculpture, using electronics and LED lights to show changes in water quality data from two different USGS sensor sites – one on Lake Pontchartrain and the other on the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Read EPA’s Reactive Fish Sculpture Turns Water Quality Data into Art.
In the Field with EPA: Monitoring the Impact of Wildfires and Woodsmoke on Indoor Air Quality
April 12, 2022 - EPA researchers are working with Tribal and community partners on a multi-faceted study to develop new solutions and approaches for reducing wildfire smoke exposures. During the pandemic, the team has sometimes had to get creative to keep their research going. Learn about how they worked together to keep making progress over the last year. Read In the Field with EPA: Monitoring the Impact of Wildfires and Woodsmoke on Indoor Air Quality.
Restoring a Unique Area in Northwest Indiana
April 12, 2022 - The Grand Calumet River, flowing mainly through northwestern Indiana, is in one of the most heavily industrialized areas in the United States. The river has been recognized as an Area of Concern since the 1980s largely due to legacy pollutants. EPA scientists are providing technical assistance to several projects associated with restoring the Grand Calumet River. Read Restoring a Unique Area in Northwest Indiana.
Mini Superstars for Aquatic Research: Stable Isotopes
March 29, 2022 - Monitoring the nation’s water quality is a fundamental part of EPA’s work. To conduct part of this monitoring, EPA scientists get help from some very small assistants – stable isotopes. Stable isotopes measured within water samples help researchers determine many things about water quality and the surrounding environment. Read Mini Superstars for Aquatic Research: Stable Isotopes.
Meet Acting Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, Maureen Gwinn, Ph.D., DABT
March 29, 2022 - Maureen Gwinn is Acting Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, the scientific research arm of EPA. Maureen also serves as EPA's Chief Scientist. Read more about her work in Meet Acting Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, Maureen Gwinn, Ph.D., DABT.
EPA Researchers Share Approaches to Identify Lead Service Lines
March 15, 2022 - One of the most common sources of lead in drinking water is old lead service lines. Given the public health risks, there is a need to identify lead service lines on both public and private property so that they can be removed. EPA researchers published a paper discussing several promising approaches that utilities can use for identifying lead service lines. Read EPA Researchers Share Approaches to Identify Lead Service Lines.
EPA Researchers Exploring Innovative Treatment for Lead in Soil
March 15, 2022 - EPA researchers are working to reduce childhood lead exposure by exploring new ways to clean up lead in contaminated sites. One approach is using soil additives which interact with lead in soil and reduce it's bioavailability if ingested. Their latest study looks at how a specific soil treatment affects lead interactions in the body, providing new insights into its potential as a soil amendment. Read EPA Researchers Exploring Innovative Treatment for Lead in Soil.
Study Shows Some Household Materials Burned in Wildfires Can be More Toxic Than Others
March 1, 2022 - When wildfires reach urban areas, the materials burned may contain more toxic chemicals than those from wildfires that consume wood and other natural materials. EPA researchers developed a unique combustion system to obtain near real-world results on the health effects of smoke from wildfires and prescribed fires. This research will provide important safety information for future wildfires. Read Study Shows Some Household Materials Burned in Wildfires Can be More Toxic Than Others.
How Climate Change May Impact Ozone Pollution and Public Health through the 21st Century
February 15, 2022 - Warmer temperatures, caused by climate change, are expected to increase the amount of ozone and particulate matter in the air. EPA researchers conducted an extensive modeling study of the impacts of climate change on air quality in the United States and the implications for public health. Read How Climate Change May Impact Ozone Pollution and Public Health through the 21st Century.
EPA Researchers Develop Tool That Helps Water Quality Managers Meet Nutrient Load Targets
February 15, 2022 - Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most widespread, costly, and challenging environmental problems. To help water quality managers reduce nutrient pollution, EPA researchers developed the River Basin Export Reduction Optimization Support Tool, a regional online tool currently available for the Upper Connecticut River Basin that provides low-cost solutions to meet nutrient load targets. Read EPA Researchers Develop Tool That Helps Water Quality Managers Meet Nutrient Load Targets.
EPA Scientists Study the Carbon-Storing Power of Seagrass to Fight Climate Change
February 1, 2022- Seagrass meadows make up a powerful carbon storage system—one that, if properly managed, could help rein in global carbon dioxide emissions responsible for climate change. To get a better picture of how much carbon is stored in seagrass meadows, EPA researchers in New England sampled seagrass and sediments from 11 meadows in the region. Read EPA Scientists Study the Carbon-Storing Power of Seagrass to Fight Climate Change.
Advancing the Potential for Stormwater Reuse: Investigation of Water Quality and Treatment
February 1, 2022- Managing stormwater runoff is a complex environmental challenge for communities across the country. One potential option? Reuse. EPA researchers collaborated with partners on a project to evaluate samples from stormwater collection systems that could potentially be harvested for landscaping and agricultural irrigation near Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Minneapolis. Read Advancing the Potential for Stormwater Reuse: Investigation of Water Quality and Treatment.
UV-LED Showerhead Invention Reduces Risk of Legionella Contamination
February 1, 2022- It's difficult to prevent Legionella in premise plumbing systems due to its persistence in biofilm, resistance to disinfection, and complex microbial ecology in pipe wall surface area. EPA researcher Hodon Ryu invented a showerhead that uses low power ultraviolet (UV) light emitting diodes to significantly reduce the risk of contamination. Read UV-LED Showerhead Invention Reduces Risk of Legionella Contamination.
EPA Researchers Evaluate Potential Aerosol Treatment Technologies to Reduce Virus in the Air
January 19, 2022 - Increasing ventilation, upgrading air filtration, and wearing well-fitting masks are all effective ways to reduce the concentration of virus in the air. However, there are certain situations where these strategies and social distancing can be difficult to implement. To help with this, EPA researchers are evaluating different types of aerosol treatment technologies that could potentially be used to reduce the amount of virus and pathogens in the air in occupied spaces, such as in schools or offices. Read EPA Researchers Evaluate Potential Aerosol Treatment Technologies to Reduce Virus in the Air.
EPA Researchers Explore Technology to Destroy PFAS
January 19, 2022 - Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, otherwise known as PFAS, are a large group of human-made organic compounds with properties that make many of them persistent in the environment. EPA researchers may have found an effective method to destroy PFAS in a way that has potential for larger scale—called Supercritical Water Oxidation. Read EPA Researchers Explore Technology to Destroy PFAS.
From Challenge & Prize Competition to Test Prototype: The Nitrogen Sensor That Could Change Residential Onsite Wastewater Treatment
January 19, 2022 - The winner of the Advanced Septic System Nitrogen Sensor Challenge has developed a nitrogen sensor that could change residential onsite wastewater treatment. Read about the winning prototype, called the Stony Brook Nitrogen Sensor, which provides real-time nitrogen concentration and performance data on innovative and alternative systems, eliminating the need for expensive manual sample collection. Read From Challenge & Prize Competition to Test Prototype: The Nitrogen Sensor That Could Change Residential Onsite Wastewater Treatment.
EPA Releases Updated New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) Work Plan
January 19, 2022 - Last month, EPA released an updated New Approach Methods (NAMs) Work Plan to reduce the use of animals and revolutionize chemical testing. The plan describes EPA’s near and long-term strategies it will deploy through 2024 for continuing to establish scientific confidence in NAMs and to show how NAMs can be applied to regulatory decisions. Read EPA Releases Updated New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) Work Plan.
In the Field with EPA: Sampling in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
December 14, 2021-The Coeur d’Alene Basin Cleanup is located in northern Idaho and eastern Washington. Historical mining and milling disposal methods spread contaminants throughout the channel and floodplain of the South Fork and mainstem of the Coeur d’Alene River and the site was added to the National Priorities List in 1983. EPA researchers recently traveled to the area to sample pore water, surface water, and sediments. Read In the Field with EPA: Sampling in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Treating Deep Aquifer Contamination with Phytoremediation
December 14, 2021- Superfund sites often have contaminated groundwater in aquifers hundreds of feet below land surface. EPA researchers tested a system for extracting contaminated water from a deep aquifer to determine if and to what extent trees can treat the contaminated water. Read Treating Deep Aquifer Contamination with Phytoremediation.
EPA Researchers Study What Causes Agricultural Nutrients to Move into Waterbodies of the Midwest
December 14, 2021- When excess nitrogen and phosphorous seep from agricultural fields into watersheds, they can impact larger waterbodies and lead to harmful algal blooms. EPA researchers gathered hundreds of peer-reviewed literature sources to conduct two studies looking at what causes agricultural nutrients to move into Midwest waterbodies. Read EPA Researchers Study What Causes Agricultural Nutrients to Move into Waterbodies of the Midwest.
EPA’s COMET Tool Blazes a Path Towards Planning Cleaner Cities
December 14, 2021- When building sustainable and smarter cities of the future, city planners must consider many factors including energy, environment, urban planning, and living standards. To equip local officials with the tools they need to find integrated solutions, EPA researchers designed the City-based Optimization Model for Energy Technologies (COMET). The first application of COMET was recently piloted in New York City, which has a goal to reach 80 percent greenhouse gas reduction relative to 2005 levels by 2050. Read EPA’s COMET Tool Blazes a Path Towards Planning Cleaner Cities.
Five Year Anniversary of the CompTox Chemicals Dashboard Brings New Updates
December 14, 2021- EPA’s CompTox Dashboard has been a one-stop-shop for chemical information online since its creation in 2016. In November, EPA researchers released the 11th version of the dashboard, which now includes chemistry, toxicity, and exposure information for over 900,000 individual chemicals and provides access to 300 chemical lists. Read Five Year Anniversary of the CompTox Chemicals Dashboard Brings New Updates.
Tiny Plastics, Big Threat: How are Microplastics Impacting our Coral Reefs?
November 30, 2021- Coral reefs worldwide are under threat from natural and human-made stressors including dredging, climate change, and plastic pollution. At EPA’s Coral Research Facility – an indoor wet lab in Gulf Breeze, Florida – scientists are studying how stressors like sedimentation, ocean acidification, and microplastics are impacting corals’ health. Read Tiny Plastics, Big Threat: How are Microplastics Impacting our Coral Reefs?
Remotely Operated Air Samplers Offer an Innovative Method for Locating Fugitive Emissions
November 30, 2021- Fugitive emissions, or pollution that escapes through unanticipated leaks, industrial processes, and other means, are difficult for scientists to measure and model. EPA scientists are collaborating with National Park Service and New Mexico Environment Department to detect fugitive emissions using a portable, solar-powered air sampling system that can be remotely operated by text message. This regional research effort will help local regulators quantify and identify fugitive air pollution emission sources. Read Remotely Operated Air Samplers Offer an Innovative Method for Locating Fugitive Emissions.
EPA Partners with Tribes to Deploy Air Sensors in Communities
November 16, 2021 - Partnerships can advance citizen science efforts that use innovative approaches to protect communities from health risks such as air pollution. EPA is working with tribal communities to deploy air sensors in a variety of venues, including on tribal lands, to help people learn about air quality issues in their communities. Read EPA Partners with Tribes to Deploy Air Sensors in Communities.
Thankful for Science
November 16, 2021 - There is a lot to be thankful for in science! Read about what EPA researchers are thankful for this year in Thankful for Science.
EPA Researchers Inform Public Health Officials in Ohio on Variants of COVID-19 Virus through Wastewater Monitoring and Sequencing
November 2, 2021 - Early in the pandemic, researchers at EPA’s laboratory in Cincinnati began looking for evidence of SARS-CoV-2 in municipal wastewater. Wastewater monitoring can help health officials know which communities need more access to testing or predict when infection waves might be present in a community, often before anyone shows symptoms of the disease. EPA researchers are also looking at which variants might be present in the wastewater to understand when and where newer variants, like the Delta variant, come into a community. Read EPA Researchers Inform Public Health Officials in Ohio on Variants of COVID-19 Virus through Wastewater Monitoring and Sequencing.
Seasonally Warm Habitats May Help Cold Water Fish Adapt to Climate Change
November 2, 2021 - Warming trends in the Pacific Northwest have the region’s conservation experts worried about the survival of critical salmon and trout species. New research looks at how fish take advantage of different areas of the Klamath river at different times of year. This information can help states and tribes decide where to prioritize climate adaptation efforts. Read Seasonally Warm Habitats May Help Cold Water Fish Adapt to Climate Change.
EPA Researchers Rely on Expertise in Biological Decontamination to Inform Cleanup after Contaminated Room Spray Recall
November 2, 2021 - In October, the CDC identified a bacterium in an aromatherapy spray which caused death and severe illness in cases across different states. Researchers and subject matter experts at EPA worked with CDC to develop waste and decontamination guidelines for homes where this spray may have been used to reduce exposure for those who may have bought the product. Read EPA Researchers Rely on Expertise in Biological Decontamination to Inform Cleanup after Contaminated Room Spray Recall.
EPA Researchers Enhance Community Resilience
November 2, 2021 - Communities are very complex, and no disaster is the same. To help state and local emergency planners think about resilience, EPA researchers developed the Environmental Resilience Tool Wizard. The Tool Wizard is a website that pulls all of EPA’s tools and resources for increasing community resilience into one easily searchable place. Read EPA Researchers Enhance Community Resilience.
EPA Researchers Work with Oklahoma Partners to Evaluate Ecological Conditions of Wadeable Streams and Restore Valuable Water Resources
October 18, 2021 - To understand the qualities that must be present to support a healthy waterbody, scientists must evaluate the biological criteria of the water. EPA researchers worked with partners in Oklahoma to refine their current biological indices. The goal of this effort was to improve bioassessments based on fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages in wadeable streams throughout the state. Read EPA Researchers Work with Oklahoma Partners to Evaluate Ecological Conditions of Wadeable Streams and Restore Valuable Water Resources.
EPA Researchers Develop Tool That Predicts How Organic Chemicals Transform in Different Environments
October 18, 2021 - Ever wonder how and why chemicals change in different environments? To better assess risk from chemical exposures, EPA scientists developed the Chemical Transformation Simulator (CTS), a web-based screening tool that predicts how organic chemicals will transform in environmental and biological systems. Read EPA Researchers Develop Tool That Predicts How Organic Chemicals Transform in Different Environments.
Children’s Health Month: Preventing Lead Exposure for Children Before it Occurs
October 18, 2021 - While lead has been phased out of many of the things we use in our daily lives, hundreds of years of human activities have contributed to increased levels of lead in soil, especially in and around urban areas and near older homes. EPA researchers are investigating ways to protect children from lead exposure. Read Children’s Health Month: Preventing Lead Exposure for Children Before it Occurs.
Groundwater: Understanding and Protecting Our Hidden Resource
October 18, 2021 - Groundwater provides about half of the drinking water supply worldwide. To protect this valuable resource, EPA researchers study how water is transported through the subsurface and how contaminants can move underground. Read Groundwater: Understanding and Protecting Our Hidden Resource.
Lead Exposure through Household Dust and Soil: EPA Researchers Looking for a Solution
EPA Researchers Investigate Impacts of Wildfires on Water Resources
September 7, 2021 - To help address the impacts of wildfires on health and the environment, EPA researchers are examining long-term patterns in water quality after wildfires. An important first step is to establish baseline conditions by monitoring water quality before rains wash ash and sediment into the rivers. EPA began a field program in Oregon to sample the chemical composition of streams and rivers that drain fire-impacted watersheds and compare them with similar streams not affected by the fires. Read EPA Researchers Investigate Impacts of Wildfires on Water Resources.
Twenty Years of EPA Homeland Security Research – Looking Back and Moving Forward
September 7, 2021 - After the events of September 11, 2001, government leaders were determined to prepare for and respond to potential future attacks. EPA established the National Homeland Security Research Center so that EPA’s scientific and technical expertise could be used by the nation to prepare for, respond to, and recover from potential chemical, biological, or radiological attacks. Read Twenty Years of EPA Homeland Security Research – Looking Back and Moving Forward.
Protecting Groundwater Resources within the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer in Oklahoma
September 7, 2021 - In south central Oklahoma, where water and rainfall can be scarce, the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer is a critical water source. For decades, EPA scientists in Ada, Oklahoma, have been working with federal, tribal, state, and academic partners to understand the impacts of human activities on the aquifer’s water quality and quantity. Read Protecting Groundwater Resources within the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer in Oklahoma.
Over 50 Years of Groundwater Research at EPA’s Kerr Lab in Ada, Oklahoma
September 7, 2021 - Protect Your Groundwater Day is an annual observance established to highlight the responsible development, management, and use of groundwater. Read Over 50 Years of Groundwater Research at EPA’s Kerr Lab in Ada, Oklahoma.
Multi-faceted EPA Research Addressing Threats to Public Health from Wildfire Smoke
August 24, 2021 - EPA researchers are providing the science needed to better prepare and respond to outdoor and indoor wildfire smoke. The research is part of a large federal government initiative to address the growing threat from wildfires, which are increasing in size and intensity, driven in large part by climate change. Read Multi-faceted EPA Research Addressing Threats to Public Health from Wildfire Smoke.
Finding Beneficial Uses for Sediment Dredged from Waterways
August 10, 2021- Across the United States, federal navigation channels and harbors are maintained through dredging, or removing sediment from the bottom. This process excavates about four million cubic yards of sediment a year, which then needs somewhere to go. EPA researchers developed a tool that helps state and federal agencies and port authorities make decisions for managing this dredged material. Read Finding Beneficial Uses for Sediment Dredged from Waterways.
EPA Researchers Analyze 30 Years of Data to Understand How Warming Temperatures Will Affect Harmful Algal Blooms in Reservoirs
August 10, 2021- Climate change and ongoing nutrient pollution may cause more frequent and intense cyanobacterial blooms. However, there is limited historical monitoring data that can show the rate and severity of the potential increase. To address this issue, EPA scientists collaborated with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to compile and analyze over 30 years of monitoring data from 20 U.S. reservoirs located in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. Read EPA Researchers Analyze 30 Years of Data to Understand How Warming Temperatures Will Affect Harmful Algal Blooms in Reservoirs.
EPA Scientists Develop Interactive Tool that Provides Water Quality Information about U.S. Freshwater Resources
August 10, 2021- Freshwater is essential for life and industry. To help U.S. communities understand national and local water quality issues, EPA scientists and partners developed Freshwater Explorer. Learn how this tool collects and provides water quality data. Read EPA Scientists Develop Interactive Tool that Provides Water Quality Information about U.S. Freshwater Resources.
Village Blue Lake Pontchartrain Offers New Orleanians Insights into Local Water Quality
July 27, 2021 -Water quality monitoring can be a powerful tool to help keep local water bodies healthy. EPA recently launched Village Blue Lake Pontchartrain, a water quality monitoring project in New Orleans that’s helping the community learn more about their local water quality and its greater connection to the Mississippi River. Read Village Blue Lake Pontchartrain Offers New Orleanians Insights into Local Water Quality.
Air Pollution May Contribute to Diabetes, Particularly Among African Americans, Study Finds
July 27, 2021 -Diabetes is a public health issue affecting more than 34 million people in the United States. An EPA epidemiologist is studying one potential risk factor that may make type 2 diabetes more prevalent - air pollution. An EPA researcher looked at the associations between indicators of long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and prevalence and incidence of diabetes among African Americans living in Mississippi. Read Air Pollution May Contribute to Diabetes, Particularly Among African Americans, Study Finds.
EPA Scientists Find Association Between Air Pollution and Hospitalization Rates Among Heart Failure Patients
July 13, 2021 - Air pollution is a major contributing factor to hospitalizations, particularly among people with cardiovascular diseases, like heart failure. EPA scientists conducted a study that examined the relationship between air pollution and hospitalization rates among over 20,000 heart failure patients over a 12 year span. Read EPA Scientists Find Association Between Air Pollution and Hospitalization Rates Among Heart Failure Patients.
EPA Researcher Creates Double Bottom Test Tube to Improve Public Health Monitoring
July 13, 2021 - Collecting and analyzing saliva is an easy, non-invasive tool for monitoring population health. The standard method of saliva sample collection and laboratory processing creates the potential for contamination and increases the time to process samples. This inspired EPA researcher Dr. Elizabeth Sams to invent the double bottom test tube kit, which can be used for any wet specimen collection. Read EPA Researcher Creates Double Bottom Test Tube to Improve Public Health Monitoring.
A Proof-of-Concept Case Study Integrating Publicly Available Information to Screen Candidates for Chemical Prioritization
July 13, 2021 - EPA has released a report on the Public Information Curation and Synthesis (PICS) approach, which integrates publicly available hazard, exposure, persistence, and bioaccumulation information for chemical substances. The approach compares the amount of scientific studies available on a particular chemical versus potential human health and environmental effects found in those studies. This data can be used to help inform the level of effort and resources needed to evaluate a specific substance. Read A Proof-of-Concept Case Study Integrating Publicly Available Information to Screen Candidates for Chemical Prioritization.
EPA Researchers Evaluated Electrostatic Sprayers for Disinfectant Application
July 13, 2021 - Businesses and institutions, including some airlines, schools, and transit agencies, have been using electrostatic sprayers to clean and disinfect large surface areas that are frequently touched by many people. Learn about EPA research to test the effectiveness of these devices. Read EPA Researchers Evaluated Electrostatic Sprayers for Disinfectant Application.
EPA Researchers Continue to Study the Emissions of 3D Printers
June 15, 2021 - Low-cost 3D printers are increasingly being used to create unique objects from digital models. However, studies have found that the 3D printing process releases gases and particulates which could pose health risks to users. EPA researchers are studying the characteristics and health effects of 3D printer emissions to protect users as the market for these printers grows. Read EPA Researchers Continue to Study the Emissions of 3D Printers.
Guidance Available to Prepare Schools, Commercial and Public Buildings for Wildfire Smoke
June 15, 2021 - Smoke in wildfire prone states is a growing health concern, especially for vulnerable populations. EPA is collaborating with partners to develop guidance to protect those who are in schools, commercial buildings and other public buildings from wildfire smoke exposure. A newly released interim guide provides recommendations and processes for developing a smoke readiness plan for commercial buildings that can be implemented when smoke is forecasted and during smoky days. Read Guidance Available to Prepare Schools, Commercial and Public Buildings for Wildfire Smoke.
What Killed the Eagles? EPA Researchers Help Solve 25+ Year Mystery
June 1, 2021- In 1994, scientists found that mass numbers of bald eagles were dying from a disease that caused significant physical impairment. For the past 27 years, scientists have struggled to understand the cause of the disease. Recently, EPA scientists, along with academic researchers, helped identify that the birds had ingested a neurotoxin that is produced by a species of cyanobacteria, which grows on an invasive aquatic plant. Read What Killed the Eagles? EPA Researchers Help Solve 25+ Year Mystery.
Helping Communities Manage Electronic Waste
June 1, 2021- Electronic waste is increasing around the world. To help understand and improve the flow of used electronics products from consumer markets to the waste or reuse stream, EPA researchers have developed the Alternative Disposition of Electronics Planning Tool, also called ADEPT. ADEPT can be used to make predictions of future waste generation demands and to evaluate different disposal scenarios of used electronics at both state and national levels. Read Helping Communities Manage Electronic Waste.
EPA Researchers Develop Tool to Assess Onsite Non-Potable Water Reuse for Buildings Across the U.S.
June 1, 2021- Water reuse can help communities address water scarcity but options vary greatly among geographic locations and building types. To assist with these variabilities, EPA researchers developed the Non-Potable Environmental and Economic Water Reuse (NEWR) Calculator. NEWR is a web-based tool designed to provide screening-level assessment for any urban building located in the United States. Read EPA Researchers Develop Tool to Assess Onsite Non-Potable Water Reuse for Buildings Across the U.S.
Using New Approaches to Screen Chemicals for Potential Thyroid Effects
June 1, 2021- The thyroid system regulates many important cellular processes of a baby’s development during pregnancy as well as metabolic processes throughout life. EPA scientists are developing methods to more quickly and efficiently screen chemicals for potential thyroid effects. One part of this research is developing high-throughput assays that use automated equipment to quickly evaluate chemicals for their potential to disrupt normal thyroid function. Read Using New Approaches to Screen Chemicals for Potential Thyroid Effects.
EPA Scientists Develop Recommendations for Testing and Evaluating Air Sensor Performance
May 18, 2021-Commercially available, lower-cost air sensors have become a popular way to measure local air quality. However, data quality from air sensors can vary, and users can have a hard time figuring out what sensors best suit their desired application. To address these challenges, EPA researchers published two reports that offer recommendations on how to evaluate sensor performance and report the test results in a more uniform way. Read EPA Scientists Develop Recommendations for Testing and Evaluating Air Sensor Performance.
EPA Grantees Develop Tool to Help Water Resources Managers Make Stormwater Infrastructure Decisions
May 18, 2021-Communities are facing decisions on how best to upgrade aging stormwater infrastructure and build new infrastructure to lessen the impacts of stormwater runoff. EPA grantees recently released the Community-Enabled Lifecycle Analysis of Stormwater Infrastructure Costs (CLASIC) tool to help water resource managers make decisions with regards to stormwater infrastructure. Read EPA Grantees Develop Tool to Help Water Resources Managers Make Stormwater Infrastructure Decisions.
New Monitoring Method Improves Ability to Measure Methane Emissions from Reservoirs
May 18, 2021-Reservoirs have many benefits, but they can also emit methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. EPA researchers adapted a monitoring technique to better measure emissions from reservoirs. This data will improve the accuracy of the nation’s greenhouse gas inventory and help us understand the climate impacts of reservoirs in the U.S. Read New Monitoring Method Improves Ability to Measure Methane Emissions from Reservoirs.
EPA Researchers Release Updates to Environmental Quality Index
May 18, 2021-A look at the broader environmental context can help researchers better understand health outcomes and how they relate to cumulative environmental exposures. To help with this, EPA researchers created the Environmental Quality Index (EQI), a national-level index that helps improve understanding of how multiple environmental conditions affect the 3,143 counties across the U.S. Read EPA Researchers Release Updates to Environmental Quality Index.
EPA Scientists Test Non-Targeted Analysis Methods Using Drinking Water Filters
May 18, 2021-Researchers can use non-targeted analysis to rapidly identify chemical compounds in a wide variety of samples. However, these approaches don’t estimate chemical concentrations, which limits their use in risk assessment. EPA scientists are working to remedy these limitations by developing a model for risk-based prioritization that can account for the concentrations of chemicals. Read EPA Scientists Test Non-Targeted Analysis Methods Using Drinking Water Filters.
Why Air Quality Science Matters this Week… and Every Week
May 4, 2021- EPA researchers are at the forefront of developing innovative scientific solutions for air quality problems and emerging air pollution issues, including wildfires and climate change. Read Why Air Quality Science Matters this Week… and Every Week.
EPA Researchers Contribute to American Thoracic Society Workshop Report on Wildland Fire Smoke Research, Respiratory and Cardiovascular Health Effects
May 4, 2021- EPA researchers co-authored a new American Thoracic Society report assessing current research on wildland fire smoke and its health effects. The report includes findings from a recent workshop. EPA researchers continue to make strides in the assessment of wildland fire smoke and its health impacts to protect the environment and health of communities most affected by fires. Read EPA Researchers Contribute to American Thoracic Society Workshop Report on Wildland Fire Smoke Research, Respiratory and Cardiovascular Health Effects.
EPA Researchers Investigate the Impacts of Everyday Products on Air Quality
EPA Researchers are Providing Tools and Resources to Prepare Communities for Climate Change and Extreme Storms
April 19, 2021 - The climate crisis is making weather patterns less predictable with more heat waves and increased storm severity. EPA scientists are studying precipitation data taken over the past century and using models to determine what rainfall events might look like in the future. This research will helps states, cities, and communities better prepare for increases in precipitation and reduce potential public health and environmental impacts of climate change. Read EPA Researchers are Providing Tools and Resources to Prepare Communities for Climate Change and Extreme Storms.
Studies Show Links Between Built Environment, Accelerated Aging, and Environmental Sensitivity
April 19, 2021 - The places we live can change us—in many cases, down to the molecular level. Two recent EPA studies are among the first to link these biological indicators of accelerated aging, called molecular biomarkers, to both the quality of the environment and environmental health risks. Read Studies Show Links Between Built Environment, Accelerated Aging, and Environmental Sensitivity.
Study Provides New Insights Into Impacts of Wildland Fires on Ozone Monitoring Equipment
April 19, 2021 - States have observed unexplained increases in ozone from monitors near active wildfires or prescribed burns. To find out why this was occurring, EPA researchers investigated and evaluated a popular ozone monitoring method during fires in Kansas, Oregon, and Montana. Their research will help state, tribal and local monitoring agencies interpret ozone data collected during wildland fire smoke events. Read Study Provides New Insights Into Impacts of Wildland Fires on Ozone Monitoring Equipment.
Assessing Impacts of Green Infrastructure on Groundwater Quality
April 19, 2021 - Green infrastructure reduces stress on wastewater systems, decreases sewer overflows, and improves watershed health--but how does it impact groundwater quality? EPA recently completed a comprehensive multi-year study to find out. The data collected can be used by state and local agencies to make decisions about implementing green infrastructure in their communities. Read Assessing Impacts of Green Infrastructure on Groundwater Quality.
Understanding Public Perceptions and Demands of Aquatic Resources Can Support Sustainable Management Practices
April 6, 2021 - Scientists have long collaborated with government and local agencies to help manage aquatic systems. Recently, researchers have been emphasizing the importance of understanding how individuals interact with these aquatic resources. Factoring public opinions into management decisions increases community support for the actions and long-term sustainability and protection. Read Understanding Public Perceptions and Demands of Aquatic Resources Can Support Sustainable Management Practices.
SPECIATE Database Provides Important Resource for Air Quality Management
April 6, 2021 - Air quality managers need to understand the chemical composition of emissions from air pollution sources to better manage them. EPA developed SPECIATE, an archive of air pollution source profiles that provides the chemical species makeup or composition of organic gas, particulate matter, and other pollutants. Thousands of these profiles for different sources of pollution have been added to the database over the years and are used by air quality regulators, managers, and researchers. Read SPECIATE Database Provides Important Resource for Air Quality Management.
EPA Researchers Test Effectiveness of Face Masks, Disinfection Methods Against COVID-19
April 5, 2021 - Face masks and other personal protective equipment are important tools to protect the wearer and others against getting COVID-19. EPA scientists are applying their expertise in aerosol and decontamination research to better understand mask effectiveness, as well as methods for disinfecting personal protective equipment for the public, healthcare workers, and other essential workers. Read EPA Researchers Test Effectiveness of Face Masks, Disinfection Methods Against COVID-19.
Working with Tribal Partners to Restore Fisheries in Northern Maine
March 23, 2021 - EPA researchers are supporting fishery restoration efforts in northern Maine with Tribal partners. EPA is collaborating with tribal, state, federal, and international partners to develop a cloud-based population diversity database of Atlantic salmon DNA as part of biodiversity and sustenance fishing restoration efforts of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians tribal waterways in Northern Maine. Read Working with Tribal Partners to Restore Fisheries in Northern Maine.
Understanding the Impacts of Synthetic Nitrogen on Air and Water Quality Using Integrated Models
March 23, 2021 - How are air and water quality connected to agriculture and the nitrogen cycle? EPA scientists developed a modeling system which combines agricultural, atmospheric, and hydrological components to look more closely at how air and water pollution are produced through large-scale agricultural operations, particularly related to grain crops and livestock. Read Understanding the Impacts of Synthetic Nitrogen on Air and Water Quality Using Integrated Models.
Celebrating Women’s History Month - Part Two
March 23, 2021 - Join us in celebrating Women's History Month! Learn about some of the EPA women working to protect the environment and check out their advice for people interested in environmental careers. Read Celebrating Women’s History Month - Part Two.
EPA Deploys Mobile Labs to Work with Texas to Restore Drinking Water Systems
March 22, 2021 - EPA’s network of regional laboratories recently assisted Texas in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri. EPA dispatched three mobile drinking water labs into areas in San Antonio, Fort Worth, and Houston to provide bacteriological analysis of drinking water samples. EPA also ensured Superfund sites were secure following the storm, assisted public drinking water systems with rapid assessments and analyses, and helped coordinate emergency response activities with Texas, and other federal agencies. Read EPA Deploys Mobile Labs to Work with Texas to Restore Drinking Water Systems.
EPA Reaffirms Commitment to Partnering with States on Environmental Protection
March 22, 2021 - EPA signed an extension to reaffirm a partnership between EPA, the Environmental Council of the States and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials to advance cooperative initiatives in pursuit of environmental health. Over the past five years, the partnership has helped EPA work directly with state environmental health experts to identify emerging environmental challenges, strategically design projects aimed directly at those challenges, and deliver research that the states need. Read EPA Reaffirms Commitment to Partnering with States on Environmental Protection.
Celebrating Women's History Month
March 9, 2021 - March is Women's History Month! Join us in celebrating some of the women working at EPA and read their advice for people interested in environmental careers. Read Celebrating Women's History Month.
EPA Researchers Share Scientific Progress at Society of Toxicology 2021 Annual Meeting
Modeling Research Shows How Salty Ocean Air Impacts Ozone Pollution
February 23, 2021 -Did you know salty air from the ocean’s surface can help reduce ozone air pollution? EPA researchers are building on this discovery to develop a new framework to more accurately predict ozone impacts and dynamics at various geographic scales. Read Modeling Research Shows How Salty Ocean Air Impacts Ozone Pollution.
The Tox21 10K Compound Library
February 23, 2021 -The Tox2110K Compound Library brings together a wealth of chemical testing methods, samples, and data to help scientists evaluate chemicals for potential health effects. The library is the result of a decade-long effort and acts as the foundation for Toxicology Testing in the 21st Century, a collaboration between EPA and other federal partners. Read The Tox21 10K Compound Library.
Science and Social Justice in the San Juan Bay Estuary
February 9, 2021 -The Caño Martín Peña in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has developed a clog. The largely working-class communities near the Caño Martín Peña experience frequent flooding that results in water-filled streets, homes and schools. EPA researchers are working with local partners to ensure the health, safety and well-being of communities in the region. Read Science and Social Justice in the San Juan Bay Estuary.
Next Generation Emission Measurements Help Understand Air Pollutants in Rubbertown Industrial Area of Louisville, Kentucky
February 9, 2021 -The Rubbertown industrial area of Louisville, Kentucky, is home to over 10 industrial sources of air pollutants. To help understand how the emissions from these sources impact people living nearby, EPA collaborated with the City of Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District to measure hazardous air pollutants in the area. Read Next Generation Emission Measurements Help Understand Air Pollutants in Rubbertown Industrial Area of Louisville, Kentucky.
EPA Projects Aim to Improve Ozone Models Over Long Island Sound
February 9, 2021 -In the summer of 2018, EPA and partners collected air quality data to investigate ozone formation over the ocean and transport across Long Island Sound. Now, EPA scientists are using this data to improve air quality models. These improvements will create a more accurate picture of ozone pollution in the regions surrounding Long Island Sound as well as how ozone forms and moves across the region. Read EPA Projects Aim to Improve Ozone Models Over Long Island Sound.
Researchers Develop Regional Lifecycle Assessment Tool for Electricity Use
February 9, 2021 -It’s important to consider the entire life cycle of electricity to identify where energy production, use, and waste from electricity generation are occurring. EPA researchers worked with partners to develop a tool that creates electricity life cycle models to track the generation, consumption, and distribution of electricity to end users across the country by region. Read Researchers Develop Regional Lifecycle Assessment Tool for Electricity Use.
EPA Joins the Nature Conservancy, NOAA, in Releasing Guide to Coral Reef Restoration Planning and Design
January 28, 2021 - Coral reefs are among the most vital and diverse habitats in the world. However, climate change and human actions are severely threatening these magnificent ecosystems. EPA recently joined NOAA and the Nature Conservancy to release a guide for reef managers as they plan, design, and implement restoration projects. Read EPA Joins the Nature Conservancy, NOAA, in Releasing Guide to Coral Reef Restoration Planning and Design.
EPA’s Excess Food Opportunities Map – A National Tool to Divert Excess Food from Landfills
January 28, 2021 - Food waste is the single largest component in our daily trash. To help reduce food waste, EPA scientists developed the Excess Food Opportunities Map, an interactive map that identifies locations of nearly 1.2 million potential generators and recipients of excess food. For example, the tool can help connect someone who runs a large compost site with someone looking to dispose of organic waste. Read EPA’s Excess Food Opportunities Map – A National Tool to Divert Excess Food from Landfills.
Research Supports Air Sensor Data Pilot Conducted in 2020 Wildfire Season
January 28, 2021 - During wildfires, local air quality information is essential to protect public health. Last fall, EPA worked with the U.S. Forest Service to provide air quality information in areas without permanent monitors using a network of commercial air sensors. This information was included in the AirNow Fire and Smoke Map, managed by EPA, to help people understand if smoke was affecting their air quality. Read Research Supports Air Sensor Data Pilot Conducted in 2020 Wildfire Season.
After a 50-year Partnership, EPA Wraps Up Presence on the University of Las Vegas Campus
January 28, 2021 - EPA’s long and rich history on the campus of the University of Las Vegas, Nevada (UNLV) wrapped up on September 30, 2020. The 50-year scientific partnership between EPA and UNLV allowed researchers to develop new science that helped EPA respond to catastrophic national events. The partnership also resulted in numerous publications, patents, and the mentoring of new scientists and volunteers. Read After a 50-year Partnership, EPA Wraps Up Presence on the University of Las Vegas Campus.