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Lubbock, TX, United States

Abel M.T.,Texas Tech University | Suedel B.,U.S. Army | Presley S.M.,Texas Tech University | Rainwater T.R.,Texas Tech University | And 10 more authors.
Environmental Geochemistry and Health | Year: 2010

Immediately following hurricane Katrina concern was raised over the environmental impact of floodwaters on the city of New Orleans, especially in regard to human health. Several studies were conducted to determine the actual contaminant distribution throughout the city and surrounding wetlands by analyzing soil, sediment, and water for a variety of contaminants including organics, inorganics, and biologics. Preliminary investigations by The Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech University concluded that soils and sediments contained pesticides, semi-volatiles, and metals, specifically arsenic, iron, and lead, at concentrations that could pose a significant risk to human health. Additional studies on New Orleans floodwaters revealed similar constituents as well as compounds commonly found in gasoline. More recently, it has been revealed that lead (Pb), arsenic, and vanadium are found intermittently throughout the city at concentrations greater than the human health soil screening levels (HHSSLs) of 400, 22 (non-cancer endpoint) and 390 μg/g, respectively. Of these, Pb appears to present the greatest exposure hazard to humans as a result of its extensive distribution in city soils. In this study, we spatially evaluated Pb concentrations across greater New Orleans surface soils. We established 128 sampling sites throughout New Orleans at approximately half-mile intervals. A soil sample was collected at each site and analyzed for Pb by ICP-AES. Soils from 19 (15%) of the sites had Pb concentrations exceeding the HHSSL threshold of 400 μg/g. It was determined that the highest concentrations of Pb were found in the south and west portions of the city. Pb concentrations found throughout New Orleans in this study were then incorporated into a geographic information system to create a spatial distribution model that can be further used to predict Pb exposure to humans in the city. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Presley S.M.,Texas Tech University | Abel M.T.,TraceAnalysis Incorporated | Austin G.P.,Texas Tech University | Rainwater T.R.,Texas Tech University | And 8 more authors.
Chemosphere | Year: 2010

The long-term environmental impact and potential human health hazards resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita throughout much of the United States Gulf Coast, particularly in the New Orleans, Louisiana, USA area are still being assessed and realized after more than four years. Numerous government agencies and private entities have collected environmental samples from throughout New Orleans and found concentrations of contaminants exceeding human health screening values as established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) for air, soil, and water. To further assess risks of exposure to toxic concentrations of soil contaminants for citizens, particularly children, returning to live in New Orleans following the storms, soils collected from schoolyards prior to Hurricane Katrina and after Hurricane Rita were screened for 26 metals. Concentrations exceeding USEPA Regional Screening Levels (USEPA-RSL), total exposure, non-cancer endpoints, for residential soils for arsenic (As), iron (Fe), lead (Pb), and thallium (Tl) were detected in soil samples collected from schoolyards both prior to Hurricane Katrina and after Hurricane Rita. Approximately 43% (9/21) of schoolyard soils collected prior to Hurricane Katrina contained Pb concentrations greater than 400mgkg-1, and samples from four schoolyards collected after Hurricane Rita contained detectable Pb concentrations, with two exceeding 1700mgkg-1. Thallium concentrations exceeded USEPA-RSL in samples collected from five schoolyards after Hurricane Rita. Based upon these findings and the known increased susceptibility of children to the effects of Pb exposure, a more extensive assessment of the soils in schoolyards, public parks and other residential areas of New Orleans for metal contaminants is warranted. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Abel M.T.,Texas Tech University | Abel M.T.,TraceAnalysis Incorporated | Cobb G.P.,Texas Tech University | Presley S.M.,Texas Tech University | And 8 more authors.
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry | Year: 2010

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. © 2010 SETAC.

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