Lead Exposure in New Orleans Post Katrina

8/20/2015

New Orleans has always been a hotspot for lead exposure due to paint on houses, factories and leaded gasoline. Before Katrina, 50% of Blue_House,_N-_Robertson_St-_4500_Blk,_New_Orleans_LA-(1).JPGchildren in high risk areas had lead poisoning. After Katrina, due to fresh soil from the flooding or brought in for construction, soil lead levels dropped and so did the number of children affected by lead. While this decline is good news for the children of New Orleans, lead is still a persistent problem, more so than in other cities around the country. 

In the aftermath of Katrina, residents left or reshuffled their housing and newcomers moved into the city. The new residents of the inner-city, which was generally unaffected by flooding, were unaware of the lead images-3.jpeghazard they were moving their families into. Families in this area have faced a series of lead hazards. Cleaning up one source of exposure only to find that their child’s blood lead level continues to increase because of a new or different source of lead exposure. When families finally track down the source of the lead, they often find that it is present in staggeringly high amounts.  One family traced their child’s lead poisoning to a local playground that had 30 times the acceptable level of lead in the ground. 


Families and communities have become more proactive in terms of containing lead in the soil and refurbishing old housing. But, once lead gets in a child’s system, nothing can be done to stop its negative effects. Some families have moved to areas with fewer lead hazards and lower lead levels, but whole communities don’t have that option. Lead exposure needs to be prevented and children need to be screened to protect the youngest generation in New Orleans. 
 
If you believe that your child has been exposed to lead, please contact your health care provider. The only way to know if your child has been exposed to lead is with a blood test.
 
Link to Full Article Here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/08/150819-new-orleans-katrina-lead-poisoning-hurricane-children-environment-health-pollution/
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