Lead distributions and risks in New Orleans following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

Michael T. Abel, George P. Cobb, Steven M. Presley, Gary L. Ray, Thomas R. Rainwater, Galen P. Austin, Stephen B. Cox, Todd A. Anderson, Blair D. Leftwich, Ronald J. Kendall, Burton C. Suedel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


During the last four years, significant effort has been devoted to understanding the effects that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita had on contaminant distribution and redistribution in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, and the surrounding Gulf Coast area. Elevated concentrations were found for inorganic contaminants (including As, Fe, P b, and V), several organic pollutants (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pesticides, and volatiles) and high concentration of bioaerosols, particularly Aeromonas and Vibrio. Data from different research groups confirm that some contaminant concentrations are elevated, that existing concentrations are similar to historical data ,and that contaminants such as P b and As may pose human health risks. Two data sets have been compiled in this article to serve as the foundation for preliminary risk assessments within greater New Orleans. Research from the present study suggests that children in highly contaminated areas of New Orleans may experience P b exposure from soil ranging from 1.37μg/d to 102 μg/d. These data are critical in the evaluation of children's health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1429-1437
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Hurricane
  • Metal accumulation
  • Metal bioavailability


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