Katrina's Troubled Waters
The Rescue Worker's Dilemma
Mount Mary College
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.
- 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.
KeywordsLead; Pb; heavy metal; lead contamination; lead poisoning; Hurricane Katrina; flooding; natural disaster; New Orleans; Louisiana
Educational LevelHigh school, Undergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsAnalysis (Issues), Dilemma/Decision, Interrupted
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Public Health | Toxicology | Environmental Science | Ecology | Earth Science |