Environmental Lead after Hurricane Katrina: Implications for Future Populations

By Rabito, Felicia A.; Iqbal, Shahed et al. | Environmental Health Perspectives, February 2012 | Go to article overview

Environmental Lead after Hurricane Katrina: Implications for Future Populations


Rabito, Felicia A., Iqbal, Shahed, Perry, Sara, Arroyave, Whitney, Rice, Janet C., Environmental Health Perspectives


BACKGROUND: As a result of Hurricane Katrina, > 100,000 homes were destroyed or damaged and a significant amount of sediment was deposited throughout the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. Researchers have identified the potential for increased lead hazards from environmental lead contamination of soils.

OBJECTIVES: We assessed the distribution of residential soil and dust lead 2 years poststorm and compared soil lead before and after the storm.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study in New Orleans in which households were selected by stratified random sampling. A standard residential questionnaire was administered, and lead testing was performed for both the interior and exterior of homes. Logistic regression was used to identify significant predictors of interior and exterior lead levels in excess of allowable levels.

RESULTS: One hundred nine households were enrolled; 61% had at least one lead measurement above federal standards. Of homes with bare soil, 47% had elevated lead and 27% had levels exceeding 1,200 ppm. Housing age was associated with soil lead, and housing age and soil lead were associated with interior lead. Race, income, and ownership status were not significantly associated with either interior or exterior lead levels. The median soil lead level of 560 ppm was significantly higher than the median level of samples collected before Hurricane Katrina.

CONCLUSIONS: The high prevalence (61%) of lead above recommended levels in soil and dust samples in and around residences raises concern about potential health risks to the New Orleans population, most notably children. Steps should be taken to mitigate the risk of exposure to lead-contaminated soil and dust. Further research is needed to quantify the possible contribution of reconstruction activities to environmental lead levels.

KEY WORDS: children's health, environmental exposures, housing, lead exposure, soil pollutants. Environ Health Perspect 120:180-184 (2012). http://dx.doi.org/l0.1289/ehp.1103774 [Online 3 November 2011]

When Hurricane Katrina Hooded the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, and adjacent areas in August 2005, one of many environmental health concerns was the possibility of widespread contamination of soils and sediments. To assess the hurricane's impact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality initiated an investigation into the floodwater sediment contamination in residential neighborhoods both before the floodwaters receded and before cleanup. Sampling results indicated that residential soils contained lead; however, the U.S. EPA found that the hurricane did not significantly affect the distribution of lead because the post-hurricane geography of lead distribution resembled prehurricane distributions (U.S. EPA 2005). Another lead assessment, conducted in 2006, reported a 46% decrease in median soil lead from pre-Katrina levels (Zahran er al. 2010). Both of these studies were conducted in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and preceded the extensive renovation effort that would be required to rebuild the city.

A 2007 report by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) highlighted the potential risk of lead exposure to families returning to New Orleans in light of the extensive amount of renovation and demolition that would be required to rebuild the city. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, > 100,000 homes in New Orleans were built before 1950, an estimated 83% of which have lead hazards (ATSDR 2007). The report concluded by stating that despite surveys indicating no increase in environmental lead levels, the actual extent of lead hazards would he determined oniy after soil data collected subsequent to reconstruction activities became available (ATSDR 2007). A recently published survey 0f schoolyard soil also suggested the need for more extensive assessment of residential lead hazards (Presley et al. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Environmental Lead after Hurricane Katrina: Implications for Future Populations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.