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Air Data From New Orleans and Mississippi Released

Release Date: 01/11/2006
Contact Information: Eryn Witcher, (202) 564-4355 / witcher.eryn@epa.gov

(1/11/06) On Jan. 9, 2006, EPA posted another set of air quality data for hurricane impacted areas in both Mississippi and New Orleans. The samples taken tested for fine (PM 2.5) and coarse (PM 10) particles, asbestos, metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). All compounds measured were below EPA's health-based screening levels, except for concentrations of acrolein at testing sites in both Mississippi and Louisiana.

Samples showed concentrations of acrolein continue to fluctuate between concentrations above EPA's 1-year screening level and concentrations too low to be detected at three sites in Mississippi (Stennis Space Center, Maple Street in Gulfport, and Hospital Road in Pascagoula) and in Jefferson Parish, La. Acrolein can enter the air when organic matter such as trees and other plants are burned and when fuels such as gasoline and oil are burned. The acrolein concentrations measured are below those where health effects, beginning with irritation of eyes, nose and throat, begin to be expected.

More information: epa.gov/enviro/katrina/emkatrina.html