According to research conducted in 2015 and 2016, 9 percent of 1,005 New Orleans homes had lead levels in their drinking water of 10 parts per billion or greater.
The current EPA standard is 15 ppb in no more than 10 percent of the sampled homes, but these levels would not fly under the new standards Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder wants both his state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adopt.
But Adrienne Katner, the assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at Louisiana State University's Health Sciences Center who conducted the lead study, thinks the current levels are unacceptable: "There is no safe level of lead," she said.
FEMA and the Sewerage & Water Board are funding a $124 million waterline replacement program, but many older homes still have lead pipes that would need to be replaced. With the cost of replacing a lead pipe as much as $5,000, Katner says this creates an "environmental justice" issue.