Hurricane Katrina, a Category 4 storm on the Saffir‐Simpson scale, struck the Gulf Coast of Louisiana on August 29th, 2005. The storm surge resulted in breaches of the levee system in New Orleans at least at two locations, flooding up to 80% of the city. The floodwater also brought sediment which was left behind once the water receded after a few days. The dry sediment covered large parts of the city. Much of it was made airborne by vehicular traffic and was potentially inhaled.

The sediments from the Lakeview area contained an appreciable amount of clay minerals which were absent in samples from Mid City. The speciation of these metals was quantitatively different in two neighborhoods. In one location metallic copper and zinc were present. A small amount of hexavalent chromium was detected at two sites.

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