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Oil spills after Katrina rival Exxon Valdez

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Hurricane Katrina is rapidly becoming the worst environmental calamity in U.S. history, with oil spills rivaling the Exxon Valdez, hundreds of toxic sites still uncontrolled, and waterborne poisons soaking 160,000 homes.

New Orleans' flooded neighborhoods are awash with dangerous levels of bacteria and lead, and with lower but still potentially harmful amounts of mercury, pesticides and other chemicals. Much will wind up in the soil as the water drains, or in Lake Pontchartrain, hammering its already battered ecosystem.

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