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Katrina's Troubled Waters

The Rescue Worker's Dilemma


Author(s)

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 Areas

N/A

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division

Format

PDF

Type / Methods

Analysis (Issues), Dilemma/Decision, Interrupted

Language

English

Subject Headings

Biology (General)  |   Public Health  |   Toxicology  |   Environmental Science  |   Ecology  |   Earth Science  |  


Date Posted

12/20/2011

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