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Commentary :: Social Welfare
BTL:Airborne Toxic Sediment Endangers New Orlean's Residents
30 Jan 2006
Interview with Wilma Subra, a McArthur award-winning environmental chemist, conducted by Between the Lines' Melinda Tuhus
Airborne Toxic Sediment Endangers New Orlean's Residents

Interview with Wilma Subra, a McArthur award-winning environmental chemist, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

Four months after Hurricane Katrina and subequent flooding put 80 percent of New Orleans under water, environmental testing shows that all those returning to the devastated parts of the city face major health risks from toxic contaminants that spread over the land and then became airborne. The Army Corps of Engineers is now planning to remove tons of sediment laced with cancer-causing chemicals from New Orleans' flooded neighborhoods. The Dallas Morning News reports that government test results show that contaminants in the sediment include toxic metals, industrial compounds, petroleum byproducts and a banned insecticide.

Wilma Subra, a Louisianan, has used her expertise as a chemist to help a number of grassroots groups throughout the state. She is president of Subra Company, an environmental consulting firm she founded in 1981. In 1999, she won a McArthur "genius" grant for her work.

Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus, who spent two weeks in New Orleans in November, spoke with Subra about how dangerous the contaminated soil and air are to human health, and how the government and private groups differ in their response to it.

For more information on the grassroots response to post Katrina toxic contamination, contact the Louisiana Environmental Action Network at (225) 928-1315 or visit their website at:

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
©2006 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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