Navigation Links
New research reveals Hurricane Katrina's impact on ecological and human health
Date:5/13/2010

Houston, Texas May 14, 2010 Scientists studying the environmental impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and the city of New Orleans have revealed the ecological impact and human health risks from exposure to chemical contaminants. The findings, published in a special issue of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, demonstrate how Hurricane Katrina caused significant ecological damage by altering coastal chemistry and habitat.

The research reveals how chemical concentrations across coastal areas varied, but within New Orleans elevated concentrations of lead, arsenic and other chemicals were found, particularly in the most disadvantaged areas of the city following Hurricane Katrina. The team also discovered how airborne contaminants known to pose health risks, were released through demolition projects during the city-wide cleanup operation.

"While evidence suggests that hurricanes may increase in intensity, resulting in even greater economic damage in the future, social and cultural factors are also important aspects to consider for the future impact of hurricanes," said Dr. Bill Benson of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). "It is important that higher priority is given to understanding social factors and demographic patterns pertaining to continued development along our nation's coastline."

Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in August 2005, remains the costliest and deadliest hurricane ever to hit the United States. When the category five hurricane hit land, the resulting surge extended six miles inland, breaching the levees of New Orleans and causing flooding to 80percent of the city to depths of six meters.

In human terms Katrina resulted in 1,800 confirmed fatalities spread over six states with at least 700 people confirmed missing and an additional one million people displaced. Katrina-related damage is estimated to exceed $84 billion, making it the most expensive natural disaster in US history. Yet it is the indirect environmental impact that continues to pose a risk to the population of New Orleans.

To discover the impact of chemical contamination Dr. George Cobb from Texas Tech University led a team to study 128 sampling sites from across the city, combining their findings with data sets generated by Dr. Burton Suedel and co-workers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Maps were then compiled from the resulting data to reveal chemical distribution across the city.

Elevated concentrations of arsenic and lead were demonstrated to exist throughout New Orleans with the highest concentrations observed in soils from the poorer sections of the city. The team also discovered that lead concentrations exceed the regulatory threshold for safety, with the highest concentrations found in the oldest parts of the city. Lead in soil poses a significant risk to residents who returned to their homes following the evacuation, especially children.

While the team's findings indicated that levels of lead frequently exceed regulatory thresholds, further research showed that many of the contaminants were present in high concentrations before the storm season and that lead may have posed a significant risk to New Orleans residents for years before Hurricane Katrina.

The results also revealed elevated concentrations of arsenic in surface soils and flood sediments across New Orleans, caused by sediment deposition or from flooded building materials.

"Our evaluation of contaminants in New Orleans was critical in determining whether storm surges and resultant flooding altered chemical concentrations or distribution," concluded Cobb. "Our results show how long-term human health consequences in New Orleans are difficult to attribute to chemical deposition or redistribution by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, yet reveal how chemical contamination is a historical problem for old cites in the U.S. Our results and the data from coastal ecosystems reveal the value of long-term monitoring programs to establish baseline concentrations and distributions of contaminants in the environment."


'/>"/>

Contact: Ben Norman
Lifesciencenews@wiley.com
44-012-437-70375
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Cutting-edge vaccine research to be showcased at AAPS National Biotechnology Conference
2. Identifying federal research dollars for ag
3. UGA researchers use patented SERS technique to rapidly, accurately detect rotavirus strain
4. 700 international researchers gather for Great Lakes Research Conference
5. New forensics research will help identify remains of children
6. TGen researcher awarded American Cancer Society fellowship
7. Scripps Research study overturns decade-old findings in neurobiology
8. Einstein researcher awarded prestigious cancer research grant
9. Research team shows how bacterial community evolves to survive
10. Biofuel chemistry more complex than petroleum, say Sandia and Lawrence Livermore researchers
11. Researchers share insights into RNA
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/3/2016)... --> --> Fourth quarter 2015:   ... compared with fourth quarter of 2014. Gross margin was 46% ... Earnings per share increased to SEK 6.39 (loss: 0.49). ... , --> --> January ... (233.6), up 1,142% compared with 2014. Gross margin was 43% ...
(Date:2/3/2016)... Calif. , Feb. 3, 2016 Vigilant ... Police Department in Missouri ... license plate reader (LPR) data from Vigilant Solutions. ... hit-and-run case in which the victim was walking out of a convenience ... parking space next to his vehicle, striking his vehicle ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2016  BioMEMS devices deployed in hospitals ... medical screening and diagnostic applications, such as ... that facilitate and assure continuous monitoring without ... being bolstered through new opportunities offered by ... coupled with wireless connectivity and low power ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016 NX Prenatal Inc., ... proprietary NeXosome® technology for early warning of adverse ... most recent study by Dr. Thomas McElrath ... Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine,s (SMFM) annual meeting held ... th , 2016.  The presentation reported initial positive ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Inc. (NYSE MKT: ISR), a medical technology company and ... the treatment of prostate, brain, lung, head and neck ... the second quarter and six months of fiscal 2016, ... --> --> Revenue was $1.19 million ... December 31, 2015, a 12% increase compared to $1.07 ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... states, announced today the promotion of two long-standing principal investigators (PI) to the ... Medicine, Clinical Research and Development. , Dr. Laurence Chu, a Benchmark Research PI ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Charlotte, NC (PRWEB) , ... February 10, 2016 ... ... highly anticipated expansion to their comprehensive training and support program, Sonalinkā„¢ remote monitoring. ... Sonablate® HIFU procedures performed on Friday, February 5th, connecting Dr. Samuel Peretsman to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: