NEW ORLEANS, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The most outrageous rumor was the report about two dogs poisoned by the toxic floodwaters that filled many New Orleans neighborhoods.
At the start of the flooding, as the waters of already less-than-pristine Lake Pontchartrain poured through collapsed levees into low-lying areas, health experts and environmentalists feared the flood would break open chemical tanks, barrels of oil, and solvents.
They worried that sitting floodwaters could dissolve the contents of buried hazardous waste sites or leach foul compounds from landfills.
And as residents and rescuers waded through foul brown waters, the reports of dire consequences began.
"Everybody 'knew' that two dogs went in the water and dropped dead instantly," said Dr. Tom Clark, an infectious disease specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Clark spends much of his day chasing down and either proving or disproving similar reports...