Department of Pharmacology
Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana
Cities are humankind’s major habitat. Industrial lead contaminated city ecosystems, thereby fostering speculation that urban habitats may be uninhabitable. This research provides insights into processes that advance the quality of urban ecosystems. A soil lead survey was completed in New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina. The tragedy of Katrina offered a natural experiment. A post-Katrina survey found that environmental lead and children’s blood lead decreased substantially, explained by low lead coastal sediment that washed into flooded communities. This research reports on soil lead and children’s exposure in unflooded vs. flooded communities of metropolitan New Orleans. Soil lead and blood lead decreased equally in unflooded and flooded communities. Curtailment of petrol lead additives reduced urban lead inputs, altered the topsoil ecosystem, and diminished children’s lead exposure. National blood-lead trends parallel those of metropolitan New Orleans. Although risks remain for children in some communities, long term habitability of urban centers is attainable.
Followed at 3 PM by: Update on lead in New York City soil
Presented by Columbia and Barnard students
Hosted by Lex Van Geen, Lamont Research Professor, and Brian Mailloux, Associate Professor of Environmental Science, Barnard College