NIEHS launches website with information for assessing environmental hazards from Hurricane Katrina

A new website with a Global Information System will provide valuable information for assessing environmental hazards caused by Hurricane Katrina. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of the National Institutes of Health, created the website to provide the most up-to-date data to public health and safety workers on contaminants in flood waters, infrastructure and industry maps, as well as demographic information for local populations.

The NIEHS Hurricane Katrina Information Website, accessible at http://www-apps.niehs.nih.gov/katrina, provides information on assessing and evaluating hundreds of potentially hazardous environmental pollutants that may pose a risk to human health. The website draws from information that NIEHS has acquired from a variety of sources including its research programs, as well as through its Superfund Basic Research Program, Worker Education and Training Program, and Environmental Health Science Centers.

The website also includes a link to a new Global Information System (GIS) that NIEHS is developing with several academic partners.

The GIS will contain layers of data, including the locations of refineries, oil pipelines, industrial facilities, Superfund sites, Toxic Release Inventory Data, agricultural operations, as well as maps and satellite images of schools, neighborhoods, and medical facilities, that will help assess the short and long effects of Katrina on the Gulf region.

"With a disaster of this magnitude, people need many things, including easy access to science based information so they can make informed decisions to further reduce their risk of harm," said NIEHS Director Dr. David Schwartz. "Consolidating information in this new website is one vehicle that NIEHS is using to help our fellow citizens."

Information in the GIS, such as the demographics of populations before Katrina will be helpful as

Contact: Christine Bruske
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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