FEMA Toxic Trailers

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Health Tips For Formaldehyde Victims

Sign Katrina and Rita Health Survey

Environmental Health News: Katrina Coverage

IEQ Indoor Environmental Quality

Amputated Lives: Coping with Chemical Sensitivity

Toxic-free trailer for disaster-relief housing debuts

Did Trailer Makers Know About Toxic Fumes?

Death by FEMA all over again

CDC finds source of FEMA trailer health problems

Formaldehyde Exposure Linked With ALS

Congressional Hearing - Toxic Trailers: Have the Centers for Disease Control Failed to Protect Public Health?

Katrina Report Slams CDC

CDC Under Siege

FEMA trailers to be tested by request

Scientists scrutinize toxic FEMA trailers

CDC under investigation over Katrina cancer risk

CDC Suppressed Toxic Trailer Warnings

Introduced - The Safe and Healthy Emergency Housing Act of 2007

FEMA criticized for pace of formaldehyde testing

New Test Results on FEMA Mobile Homes and Trailers Confirms High Formaldehyde Levels in Both Types of Units

FEMA Protecting Itself, But Not Evacuees?

FEMA cites formaldehyde in keeping workers out of trailers

Karina Cottages

Contract issue blocks cottage program - Louisiana

FEMA to Let Katrina Victims Move From Trailers Into Hotels

FEMA offers trailer alternative

FEMA: Disaster Assistance Directorate

Buyer Beware

FEMA lawyers' ethics doubted in trailer mess - Advising against toxics tests would be wrong, experts say

Committee Probes FEMA's Response to Reports of Toxic Trailers

Statement of Becky Gillette, toxics analyst for the Sierra Club

Grilling FEMA Over Its Toxic Trailers

FEMA Slow to Safety Test Toxic Trailers

FEMA's Own Documents Tell The Formaldehyde Story

Dying for a Home: Toxic Trailers Are Making Katrina Refugees Ill

Mardi Gras Celebrations Overshadowed By Toxic Trailers

CBS News - Investigative Report

ABC News - Embalmed in Your Own RV

FEMA Trailers Exhibit Unsafe Levels of Formaldehyde

Congress Seeks Truth About Toxic Trailers

National Council of Churches asks FEMA to investigate 'toxic' trailers

EPA Relied On Industry For Plywood Rule

Note: The EPA rule did not mention the possible link to leukemia

FEMA's Website

New FEMA Procurement Specifications Require Significantly Reduced Formaldehyde Levels

CDC Releases Results Of Formaldehyde Level Tests

FEMA Announces Refunds For Travel Trailers Purchased By Disaster Occupants And Through GSA Sales

Testing Of Trailers And Mobile Homes For Formaldehyde Begins In Mississippi And Louisiana

FEMA Authorizes Hotel or Motel Assistance for Occupants Of FEMA Temporary Housing Units

Deployment and Sale of Temporary Housing Units

Travel Trailer and Mobile Home Sales Program

Statement of Administrator Paulison

Asks CDC to conduct assessment of indoor air quality in travel trailers

Ventilating Travel Trailers Can Significantly Reduce Formaldehyde Emission Levels

CDC issues indoor air quality policy for all CDC offices nationwide

American Red Cross

Tips for People with Disabilities and Medical Concerns

Tips for People with Environmental or Chemical Sensitivities

Louisiana Governor Proclamation Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity

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Report blasts FEMA on storm trailer formaldehyde

The Federal Emergency Management Agency took too long to respond to initial reports of dangerous levels of formaldehyde in trailers delivered to victims of the 2005 hurricanes, exposing people to possible health risks, a report of the Homeland Security Department inspector general said Thursday.

"FEMA did not display a degree of urgency in reacting to the reported formaldehyde problem," the report said, "a problem that could pose a significant health risk" to those living in the temporary housing.

First trial dates set for FEMA trailer suits

A federal judge has scheduled the first four trials for a batch of lawsuits filed on behalf of hurricane victims who claim they were exposed to potentially toxic fumes while living in government-issued trailers.

An order issued Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt says cases against Gulf Stream, Fleetwood, Forest River and Keystone RV will be the first to be tried. The federal government also is expected be a defendant in each case.

Judge: FEMA not immune from toxic trailer suits

The federal government is not immune from lawsuits claiming many Gulf Coast hurricane victims were exposed to potentially dangerous fumes while living in trailers it provided, a federal judge ruled Friday.

FEMA seeks immunity from trailer fume suits

The Federal Emergency Management Agency asked a federal judge Wednesday for immunity from lawsuits over potentially dangerous fumes in government-issued trailers that have housed tens of thousands of Gulf Coast hurricane victims.

Lawmaker: FEMA trailer maker knew of formaldehyde

Gulf Stream, the main supplier of travel trailers for displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina, knew of high levels of formaldehyde in some of the trailers, but did not tell anyone because it regarded the situation as a public relations and legal matter, not a public health issue, the Democratic chairman of a House oversight committee said Wednesday.

EPA Agrees to Study Methods to Reduce Formaldehyde in Homes, Offices, and Schools

In response to a petition from Sierra Club, 24 other organizations and more than 5,000 individuals representing every state in the country, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed to conduct a four-part investigation of formaldehyde in our homes, schools and offices.

CDC Releases Reports on Formaldehyde Tests of Trailers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) posted on Wednesday two reports from its work related to assessing the levels of formaldehyde in the indoor air of travel trailers used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for emergency housing of Gulf Coast residents. One report, the results of which have been previously reported, assessed indoor formaldehyde levels. The other looked at emissions from specific travel trailer components and construction materials.

Children in FEMA trailers may face lifelong ailments

"Monitoring the health of a few thousand children over the course of a few years is a step in the right direction, but we need commitment," said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

Thompson has introduced legislation to force FEMA and CDC to provide health exams for trailer residents who believe formaldehyde made them ill. The bill is similar to the $108 million legislation for workers who labored at the World Trade Center site.

Lawyer: Documents raise new questions about toxins in trailers

Federal officials issued trailers to Hurricane Katrina victims even though some workplace safety tests detected high levels of formaldehyde at government staging areas for the structures just weeks after the storm, a lawyer for hundreds of occupants said Wednesday.

Sick Victims Deride FEMA's Promises

Katrina Victims Have No Faith in FEMA's Promises - Government Admits Trailers Are Toxic, but Has No Health Plan

Toxic gas pervasive in FEMA units, tests show

More than two years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita battered the Mississippi Gulf Coast, private tests of FEMA travel trailers and mobile homes provided to storm victims indicate that high levels of formaldehyde gas in the units is much more widespread than the government has acknowledged.

Stalled Health Tests Leave Storm Trailers in Limbo

Three months after the Federal Emergency Management Agency halted the sale of travel trailers to survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita over possible risks from formaldehyde and promised a health study, none of the 56,000 occupied units have been tested.

Charles Green, a C.D.C. spokesman, said that testing was expected to start at the end of this month or early November in at least 300 occupied trailers in Mississippi and 300 in Louisiana. Teams will spend about an hour in each trailer using a portable pump to take air samples. The occupants would also be asked questions about pets, smoking habits and the use of pesticides.

Hurricane FEMA

Despite orders from the top and tests showing dangerous levels of formaldehyde, many residents of FEMA trailers are having trouble moving out.

Running on Fumes

FEMA attorneys, fearing lawsuits, quashed early attempts to test trailers for dangerous levels of formaldehyde. Now the agency faces class action suits and Congressional ire.

FEMA Knew Of Toxic Gas In Trailers

One man in Slidell, La., was found dead in his trailer on June 27, 2006, after complaining about the formaldehyde fumes. In a conference call about the death, 28 officials from six agencies recommended that the circumstances be investigated and trailer air quality be subjected to independent testing. But FEMA lawyers rejected the suggestions, with one, Adrian Sevier, cautioning that further investigation not approved by lawyers "could seriously undermine the Agency's position" in litigation.

The Formaldehyde Cover-Up

While FEMA attorneys were trying to keep a lid on any talk of formaldehyde problems in the trailers, an infant died in a trailer in Texas -- in August 2006. The dead child's parents blamed the death on formaldehyde, and efforts by FEMA staff in Texas to get trailers in that state tested were blocked. "I talked to Ed Laundy in Texas ... and explained ... since there are no standards, testing is meaningless," a FEMA staff member in Louisiana wrote in a memo.

Ex-official: FEMA knew about trailer formaldehyde

Fineran also said the death of 10-day-old Diamondhead infant, whom he said was born early and underweight, may also be related to formaldehyde. The family also had a young daughter and was living in a FEMA trailer, Fineran said.

Hancock County Coroner Norma Stiglet said the death was cause by sudden infant death syndrome, which the National SIDS/Infant Death Resource Center says can be caused by exposure to formaldehyde during and after pregnancy. FEMA's formaldehyde literature distributed to residents states tobacco smoke contains formaldehyde and urges residents not to smoke inside their trailer.


Formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds in Hong Kong homes: concentrations and impact factors

This paper presents formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds (VOC) concentrations, potential sources and impact factors in 100 homes. The 24-h average formaldehyde concentration in 37 homes exceeded the good class of the Hong Kong Indoor Air Quality Objectives (HKIAQO), whereas the total VOCs concentration in all homes was lower than the HKIAQO. Compared to other East Asian cities, indoor formaldehyde and styrene in Hong Kong was the highest, reflecting that the homes in Hong Kong were more affected by household products and materials. The formaldehyde concentration in newly built apartments was significantly higher than that in old buildings, whereas no relationship between the concentration and the building age was found for VOCs. There was no difference for formaldehyde and toluene between smoking and non-smoking homes, suggesting that cigarette smoking was not the major source of these two species. (emphasis added)


Consumer Information:
Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

Health Effects

The effects of indoor air pollutants range from short-term effects - eye and throat irritation - to long-term effects - respiratory disease and cancer. Exposure to high levels of some pollutants, such as carbon monoxide, can even result in immediate death.Also, some indoor pollutants can magnify the effects of other indoor pollutants. Based on cancer risk alone, federal scientists have ranked indoor air pollution as one of the most important environmental problems in the United States.

"Sensitive" Groups

Many groups are especially susceptible to the health effects of indoor pollutants. These include infants and the elderly, thosewith heart and lung diseases, people with asthma, and individuals who have developed extreme sensitivity to chemicals.Unfortunately, these are the people who often spend the most time indoors.  Read on

Consumer Product Safety Commission
An Update On Formaldehyde: 1997 Revision

What is Formaldehyde?

Formaldehyde is an important industrial chemical used to make other chemicals, building materials, and household products. It is one of the large family of chemical compounds called volatile organic compounds or "VOCs". The term volatile means that the compounds vaporize, that is, become a gas, at normal room temperatures. Formaldehyde serves many purposes in products. It is used as a part of:

   the glue or adhesive in pressed wood products (particleboard, hardwood plywood, and medium density fiberboard (MDF));

   preservatives in some paints, coatings, and cosmetics;

   the coating that provides permanent press quality to fabrics and draperies;

   the finish used to coat paper products; and

   certain insulation materials (urea-formaldehyde foam and fiberglass insulation).

Formaldehyde is released into the air by burning wood, kerosene or natural gas, by automobiles, and by cigarettes. Formaldehyde can off-gas from materials made with it. It is also a naturally occurring substance.

The U.S. Consumer Safety Commission has produced this booklet to tell you about formaldehyde found in the indoor air. This booklet tells you where you may come in contact with formaldehyde, how it may affect your health, and how you might reduce your exposure to it.  Read on

Formaldehyde in The Indoor Environment

The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a World Health Organization panel of 26 scientists from 10 countries, has concluded that formaldehyde is a human carcinogen. Previously, the WHO has classified formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen. After reviewing the latest epidemiologic studies, the panel determined that there is now sufficient evidence that formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer in humans, a rare cancer found in developed countries that impacts the back of the mouth and nose. The panel also found limited evidence for cancer of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses and "strong but not sufficient evidence" for leukemia.

These findings are significant because the US Environmental Protection Agency has adopted a more less stringent assessment than the WHO. The evidence reviewed by both the EPA and WHO included results from recent studies by the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) and a study from England showing that exposure to formaldehyde might also cause leukemia in humans. The WHO panel noted that the scientific evidence has not yet determined how formaldehyde would cause cancer and called for more research. The EPA concluded that the studies were contradictory and not thoroughly reviewed.  Read on

Other Informational Sites

CDC - Interim Findings on Air Quality in FEMA-Supplied Mobile Trailers
CDC - Formaldehyde-related Health Concerns
EPA - Formaldehyde
EPA Indoor Air Quality - Formaldehyde
ATSDR - ToxFAQs for Formaldehyde
ATSDR - Medical Management Guidelines - Formaldehyde
Material Safety Data Sheet - Formaldehyde
Material Safety Data Sheet - Formaldehyde
OSHA - Formaldehyde
National Cancer Institute - Formaldehyde and Cancer

Disability Issues

FEMA: Accommodating People With Disabilities In Disasters: A Reference Guide To Federal Law
FEMA Establishes Guidelines For Making Manufactured Housing Units Available For Persons With Disabilities
Settlement Agreement Class Action Suit Between Brou v. FEMA
Update on Lawsuit - Advocacy Center - Brou v. FEMA
Katrina Disability Information
Access Board Emergency Transportable Housing Advisory Committee
Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with Disabiities
National Council on Independent Living Association - NCIL

NCIL's Letter to Senator Landrieu Regarding Health and Safety Concerns in FEMA Housing

More needs to be done to ensure that people with disabilities, including persons with hidden disabilities, such as vision and hearing loss, or Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (emphasis added), secure accessible housing in the wake of losing their home.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivities Update
By Albert F. Robbins, D.O., MSPH, FAAEM, Board Certified: Preventive Medicine, Occupational/Environmental Medicine

The major classes of exposures that appear to initiate the MCS phenomenon include exposures to pesticides, working in sick buildings, living in toxic communities, occupying mold or moisture contaminated homes, working in the chemical industry, being exposed to formaldehyde products (emphasis added), new furniture products, new building materials and exposures to latex.

Reduce Other Exposures

Personal Care Products: Perfume, Hairspray, Aftershave, Deodorant
Scented Products as Sources of VOCs
How To Clean Your House
Traditional Versus "Green" Cleaning Products

Lawsuits Filed

Buzbee Law Firm and Garner & Munoz, Attorneys at Law
Parker Waichman Alonso LLP
Rodney & Etter Law Firm

Suggestions for Cleaner Air

Austin HealthMate+ Series
Air Cleaners and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
Genesis Air

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