Nursing: Community Assessment Using Windshield Survey

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Nursing: Community Assessment using windshield survey

Nursing: Community Assessment using windshield survey


In May of 2000, a train carrying a variety of chemicals derailed northwest of Eunice, Louisiana. Concern arose about possible contamination that may have entered the Eunice City Lake during and following the derailment. Results of fish sampling showed that no advisory on fish consumption needed to be considered; however, it was suggested that follow-up sampling be performed to rule out the potential of bioaccumulation of contaminants from lake sediments or water into fish tissues. A second round of fish sampling was performed in May 2002. Due to continuing community concerns about the lake, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals/Office of Public Health/Section of Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology (LDHH/OPH/SEET) have performed a review of the 2002 data through a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). SEET staff reviewed the contaminant concentrations found in fish tissue from Eunice City Lake to determine whether consumption of these fish would pose a threat to human health and to establish what further public health actions, if any, may be needed.


The city of Eunice straddles Acadia and Saint Landry Parishes in Louisiana. Census 2000 results recorded a population of 11,499. The largest ethnic group in the parish at that time was Caucasian (68.8%), followed by African-American (29.9%), Asian (0.2%), and Native American (0.1%). Twenty-nine point six percent (29.6%) of the population age 25 years or older in 2000 had earned at least a high school diploma. The median household income was $21,372, with 31.4% of persons living below the poverty level. The largest employers were the educational, health and social services industry; the retail trade industry; the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services sector; construction; and the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry [4].


Data Used

The May 2002 Eunice City Lake fish investigation was performed by ARCADIS G & M, Inc. ARCADIS collected fish samples from the following three locations in the lake:

LAKE-3, a sampling site immediately adjacent to the derailment site;

LAKE-7, a sampling site at the center of the lake; and

LAKE-6, a sampling site located in the southwestern portion of the lake, which was used as the background location at which fish should not have undergone exposure to contamination from the derailment.

Five edible species of fish were collected as outlined in Table 1. Fish sampled were above legal size limits set by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries [5]. At each sampling site, all of the fish collected for a single species were filleted, and the fillets were blended into one representative tissue sample. Each of these samples was submitted for laboratory analysis. The analyses were performed by Gulf Coast Analytical Laboratories, Inc. (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) and Pace Analytical Services, Inc. (Minneapolis, Minnesota). Each tissue sample was analyzed for 138 constituents (the chemicals carried by the derailed cars and their combustible products) [1].

All sampling was performed in accordance with methodologies presented in an LDEQ-approved work ...
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