U.S. District Court - Case Developments
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
Contract issue blocks cottage program - Louisiana
FEMA to Let Katrina Victims Move From Trailers Into Hotels
FEMA offers trailer alternative
FEMA: Disaster Assistance Directorate
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
Katrina Victims Have No Faith in FEMA's Promises - Government Admits Trailers Are Toxic, but Has No Health Plan
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.
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.
Despite orders from the top and tests showing dangerous levels of formaldehyde, many residents of FEMA trailers are having trouble moving out.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Reducing Indoor Air Pollution
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.
Many groups are especially susceptible to the health effects of indoor pollutants. These include infants and the elderly, those with 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Personal Care Products: Perfume, Hairspray, Aftershave, Deodorant
Scented Products as Sources of VOCs
How To Clean Your House
Traditional Versus "Green" Cleaning Products
Buzbee Law Firm and Garner & Munoz, Attorneys at Law
Parker Waichman Alonso LLP
Rodney & Etter Law Firm
Austin HealthMate+ Series
Air Cleaners and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
|Copyright © 1999-2012, Informed Choices, All Rights Reserved.|