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Water-related Research

HSB staff gathers water samples from a private well to test for contaminants.

HSB staff photo

The Health Studies Branch investigates risks for exposure to and health effects from non-infectious contaminants in drinking water (e.g. metals, pesticides, nitrates, toxic chemicals) to identify hazardous exposures and develop recommendations for minimizing exposure and reducing public health risks.

There are many non-infectious agents that could contaminate water sources and impact human health. Common water contaminants and their associated health risks are listed on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Drinking Water contaminants website. The majority of our investigations focus on drinking water sources that do not fall under regulation by the US EPA, such as private wells, small systems, and surface water. Working with local, state, tribal, federal, and international partners, we apply our research findings to develop recommendations and interventions to decrease population health risks. Examples of past investigations include: