On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, a strong Category 4 hurricane, ripped through the Gulf of Mexico’s coast, including New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina’s 125 mph winds killed nearly 2,000 people and flooded 80% of New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina’s winds and flooding destroyed thousands of homes, releasing huge amounts of toxic asbestos fibers. Now, many residents that survived the storm and the rebuilding volunteers are being exposed to asbestos, which may lead to serious and even fatal lung diseases.

How Did Hurricane Katrina Cause Asbestos Exposure?

Hurricane Katrina destroyed and flooded thousands of homes and buildings constructed with materials that contained asbestos. The asbestos materials were non-friable, meaning they would only release toxic asbestos fibers if cut, damaged, or disturbed. Because Hurricane Katrina’s severe winds significantly damaged the asbestos containing materials, toxic asbestos fibers were released into the air where they remained for a long time. Additionally, Hurricane Katrina’s massive flooding increased asbestos exposure by transporting asbestos fibers throughout the city.

Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. When the flood waters receded, the clean up and rebuilding began. The clean-up and rebuilding process required knocking down many standing homes and buildings that were irreparable. This released even more toxic asbestos fibers and caused more exposure to asbestos.

Who is at Risk for Asbestos Exposure after Hurricane Katrina?    

Hurricane Katrina resulted in thousands of people being subjected to increased asbestos exposure, including:

  • Residents who did not evacuate before Hurricane Katrina made landfall (most of the 1.2 million residents evacuated)
  • Residents who returned to their homes following Hurricane Katrina
  • Volunteers who went to New Orleans to assist in the clean up and rebuilding

Hurricane Katrina and Asbestos Exposure Dangers

Hurricane Katrina’s strong winds and widespread flooding caused thousands of residents and volunteers to be exposed to large amounts of toxic asbestos fibers. When people inhale or ingest asbestos fibers, they remain lodged in the body and can cause severe and fatal diseases, including mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. Because asbestos-related diseases can take decades to manifest, people who were exposed to asbestos after Hurricane Katrina may become ill in the future.  

Injured by Asbestos Exposure from Hurricane Katrina 

If you or a loved one has been injured by asbestos exposure from Hurricane Katrina, please contact our asbestos attorneys as you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.  

Published November 17, 2011 by