For the more information about water resources in the National Park Service, please visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/water/.


Environmental Contaminants Encyclopedia

The Environmental Contaminants Encyclopedia, last updated in 1998, summarizes information about 118 environmental contaminants and serves as a quick reference for determining whether or not concentrations are above levels that might affect living things. The encyclopedia includes information related to fish, wildlife, invertebrates, and other non-human living resources. Contaminant effects on humans were only included when it helped with general understanding.

The encyclopedia emphasizes concentration data:

  • low, typical and high environmental concentrations found in other parts of the country and world;
  • concentrations that are toxic to various organisms; and
  • standards, criteria, and other benchmark values.

Studies include contaminant concentrations and risk levels found in natural resources, such as water, sediments, soils, or plant and animal tissues. Information was taken from books, journal articles, government documents, electronic databases, peer-reviewed sources, and personal communications. It was the need for a quick reference of environmental toxicology benchmarks and general information that led National Park Service staff to start compiling the information.

The target audience is contaminants specialists, environmental toxicologists, hazardous waste specialists, environmental risk assessors, natural resource damage assessors, contaminants researchers, land managers, spill responders, water quality specialists, and natural resource managers.

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Last Updated: November 13, 2012