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Katrina's Troubled Waters

The Rescue Worker's Dilemma



Author:

Lynn Diener
Biology Department
Mount Mary College
dienerl@mtmary.edu

Abstract:

This case study explores some of the health issues brought to light during the flooding in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina. The case encourages students to think about a variety of problems that can occur when humans are exposed to unsanitary flood waters, focusing specifically on exposure to the heavy metal, lead (Pb). The case explores the use of lead in gasoline and how that continues to impact the environment today. Students learn a little about the fate and transport of lead as well as its toxicity. The case is intended for a non-majors environmental issues course, but it could also be used in an introductory biology, toxicology, or ecology course.

Objectives:
  • Understand some basic chemistry of lead.
  • Understand basic toxicology of lead.
  • Learn about the basic fate and transport of lead in the environment.
  • Understand routes of exposure to lead.
  • Learn about some of the health concerns associated with flooding in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans.
Keywords: Lead; Pb; heavy metal; lead contamination; lead poisoning; Hurricane Katrina; flooding; natural disaster; New Orleans; Louisiana
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Analysis (Issues), Dilemma/Decision, Interrupted
Language: English
Subject Headings: Biology (General)   Public Health   Toxicology   Environmental Science   Ecology   Earth Science  
Date Posted: 12/20/2011
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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