Spatiotemporal exposome dynamics of soil lead and children's blood lead pre- and ten years post-Hurricane Katrina: Lead and other metals on public and private properties in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

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Anthropogenic re-distribution of lead (Pb) principally through its use in gasoline additives and lead-based paints have transformed the urban exposome. This unique study tracks urban-scale soil Pb (SPb) and blood Pb (BPb) responses of children living in public and private communities in New Orleans before and ten years after Hurricane Katrina (29 August 2005).


To compare and evaluate associations of pre- and ten years post-Katrina SPb and children's BPb on public and private residential census tracts in the core and outer areas of New Orleans, and to examine correlations between SPb and nine other soil metals.


The Louisiana Healthy Housing and Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program BPb (μg/dL) data from pre- (2000–2005) and post-Katrina (2010–2015) for ≤6-year-old children. Data from public and adjacent private residential census tracts within core and outer areas are stratified from a database that includes 916 and 922 SPb and 13,379 and 4830 BPb results, respectively, from pre- and post-Katrina New Orleans. Statistical analyses utilize Multi-Response Permutation Procedure and Spearman's Rho Correlation.


Pre- to Post-Katrina median SPb decreases in public and private core census tracts were from 285 to 55 mg/kg and 710–291 mg/kg, respectively. In public and private outer census tracts the median SPb decreased from 109 to 56 mg/kg and 88–55 mg/kg. Children's BPb percent ≥5 μg/dL on public and private core areas pre-Katrina was 63.2% and 67.5%, and declined post-Katrina to 7.6% and 20.2%, respectively. BPb decreases also occurred in outer areas. Soil Pb is strongly correlated with other metals.


Post-Katrina re-building of public housing plus landscaping amends the exposome and reduces children's BPb. Most importantly, Hurricane Katrina revealed that decreasing the toxicants in the soil exposome is an effective intervention for decreasing children's BPb.

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