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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Apr 12;14(4). pii: E407. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14040407.

Soil Lead and Children's Blood Lead Disparities in Pre- and Post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans (USA).

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Department of Pharmacology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.
Department of Pharmacology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.
Lead Lab, Inc., New Orleans, LA 70119, USA.


This study appraises New Orleans soil lead and children's lead exposure before and ten years after Hurricane Katrina flooded the city. Introduction: Early childhood exposure to lead is associated with lifelong and multiple health, learning, and behavioral disorders. Lead exposure is an important factor hindering the long-term resilience and sustainability of communities. Lead exposure disproportionately affects low socioeconomic status of communities. No safe lead exposure is known and the common intervention is not effective. An essential responsibility of health practitioners is to develop an effective primary intervention. Methods: Pre- and post-Hurricane soil lead and children's blood lead data were matched by census tract communities. Soil lead and blood lead data were described, mapped, blood lead graphed as a function of soil lead, and Multi-Response Permutation Procedures statistics established disparities. Results: Simultaneous decreases occurred in soil lead accompanied by an especially large decline in children's blood lead 10 years after Hurricane Katrina. Exposure disparities still exist between children living in the interior and outer areas of the city. Conclusions: At the scale of a city, this study demonstrates that decreasing soil lead effectively reduces children's blood lead. Primary prevention of lead exposure can be accomplished by reducing soil lead in the urban environment.


Cochrane Collaboration; Declaration of Helsinki; GIS; environmental signaling; exposome; lead intervention; urban mapping

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