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calendar   Saturday - February 16, 2008

Business Opportunity

CDC tests confirm FEMA trailers are toxic

Agency to relocate Gulf Coast residents because of formaldehyde fumes




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news source

More than two years after residents of FEMA trailers deployed along the Mississippi Gulf Coast began complaining of breathing difficulties, nosebleeds and persistent headaches, U.S. health officials announced Thursday that long-awaited government tests found potentially hazardous levels of toxic formaldehyde gas in both travel trailers and mobile homes provided by the agency.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which requested the testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said it would work aggressively to relocate all residents of the temporary housing as soon as possible.

Levels of formaldehyde gas in 519 trailer and mobile homes tested in Louisiana and Mississippi were — on average — about five times what people are exposed to in most modern homes, the CDC reported. In some trailers, the levels were nearly 40 times customary exposure levels, raising fears that residents could suffer respiratory problems and potentially other long-term health effects, it said.

The Sierra Club began warning about formaldehyde levels in travel trailers by early 2006, after conducting its own air-quality tests. FEMA officials initially dismissed the environmental group’s testing, saying the trailers conformed to industry standards.

Formaldehyde is used in a wide variety of products, including composite wood and plywood panels used to manufacture the thousands of travel trailers and mobile homes purchased by FEMA after the storms.

There are no federal safety standard for formaldehyde fumes in homes or travel trailers, though the Department of Housing and Urban Development regulates the presence of the chemical in the manufacture of mobile homes.

In addition to causing respiratory ailments, formaldehyde is considered a human carcinogen, or cancer-causing substance, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Paulison said it had not yet been decided whether the agency would force residents living in FEMA trailers or mobile homes on private property — such as homeowners overseeing the rebuilding of a house — to leave.

He also vowed that FEMA would no longer use travel trailers to house disaster victims.

We will not ever use trailers again,” he said. “… That is not a good housing alternative for us.”

This is pretty much the same story we wrote about several months ago. I don’t work for a lumber company, but I do know that plywood, MDF, paneling, and insulation can be made without using urea-formaldehyde based resins. If a trailer making company came up with a couple models that could be “certified formaldehyde free” they could make millions. MILLIONS. But they would have to work with the government to develop a forward plan. You can’t build 100,000 trailers overnight. No, somehow the government has to stockpile them. And at the same time perhaps outlaw formaldehyde as an ingredient in building supplies?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 02/16/2008 at 05:09 PM   
Filed Under: • Product Safety •  
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