A health review the Department of Health conducted at the request of citizens of Convent, La. could not find any environmental link to health concerns expressed by residents.

Beginning in late 2003, residents of the Convent area had approached LDH Office of Public Health staff with health concerns. The majority of concerns involved the skin, with residents reporting itching, rash, boils and sores, along with other miscellaneous ailments.

After meeting with the community and other federal, state and local agencies several times and conducting site visits, DHH’s Section of Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology developed a survey for Convent residents to complete in August 2004 to determine the type and extent of health problems and also conducted a medical records review for area residents.

The health review was intended to see whether environmental issues in the Convent area, such as drinking water quality, agricultural practices, chemical or pesticide releases and sewage disposal, were causing health problems in the area.

An evaluation of the area could not find a link between environmental and health conditions. In conclusion, the skin problems reported are most likely related to individual circumstances.

To better inform Convent citizens about how they can treat and prevent skin infections, LDH will distribute health information to area residents and will host a health fair in the area to address concerns. LDH also will conduct thorough investigations of any documented complaints of unsanitary or hazardous conditions and will continue monitoring the area water system regularly to ensure continued compliance.

To submit public comment on this health review, please contact Kathleen Golden at 1-888-293-7020 or (504) 568-8537. 

A complete copy of the Convent area health review is available online at: http://www.oph.dhh.state.la.us/environmentalepidemiology/diseaseclust/index.html