Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Public Health and Hurricanes

03.05.2007
New study underscores need for rapid environment assessments post-hurricanes

In the first study ever to evaluate urban sediment after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, scientists from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science have published their findings in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pointing to the need for rapid environmental assessments.

The environment in New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita showed high levels of contamination as floodwaters receded from the city, and this new study, titled "Impacts of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Microbial Landscape of the New Orleans Area" provides new insights into public health and human exposure to both inhaled and ingested pathogens from sewage-contaminated floodwaters induced by hurricanes.

Rosenstiel School researchers from its NSF/NIEHS Center for Oceans and Human Health, along with five other universities and two other NSF/NIEHS Centers for Oceans and Human Health, analyzed water and sediment samples they collected as floodwaters receded from New Orleans during the two months after the 2005 hurricanes. The scientists collected water and sediment samples from the interior canal and shoreline of New Orleans and the offshore waters of Lake Pontchartrain, which showed higher than normal bacteria and pathogen levels. The bacteria and pathogens reduced to low levels within a few weeks after flooding had completely subsided.

“Our findings emphasize the importance of including environmental monitoring within disaster management plans,” said Dr. Helena Solo-Gabriele, professor of environmental engineering at the University of Miami and co-author of the paper. “A rapid assessment of conditions can protect emergency workers and residents from potential illnesses that could result from exposure.”

The 2005 events were characterized by an unusually high volume and long duration of human exposure. The most contaminated area tested near the Superdome contained high levels of sewage pathogens. Researchers pointed out monitoring efforts should focus on evaluating the impacts of sediments within the area since exposure to contaminated sediments, by inhaling or ingesting, could result in potential health risks. Efforts should include monitoring pathogens in addition to indicator microbes.

“We know that hurricanes bring infectious disease, chemical contamination and death in their wake,” said Don Rice, director of NSF's chemical oceanography program, which funded the research. “Now we are making a concerted effort to study and understand the connections.”

Sediment samples taken from the canal shoreline and from three homes showed elevated levels that could not be contributed solely to the effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The source of elevated bacteria levels in the canals and sediments appears to be the chronic discharge of contaminated water from the interior portions of the city.

Poor water quality, present prior to the hurricanes, was a major concern in the region, and efforts are needed in the region to improve the sanitary infrastructure.

Improvements should focus on the storm water drainage system in the region and reducing sewage contamination of groundwater seepage, researchers noted. No evidence of a long-term algal bloom was observed in New Orleans as a result of Hurricanes Katrina or Rita.

Rosenstiel School is part of the University of Miami and, since its founding in the 1940s, has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions.

Ivy F. Kupec | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rsmas.miami.edu
http://www.miami.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>