ToxicTrailers.com was launched after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when the government spent more than $2 billion on FEMA trailers with high levels of formaldehyde that sickened thousands of people. The FEMA trailer tragedy exposed what is a widespread problem in RVs, mobile homes, modular buildings and even conventional buildings that use pressed wood products. Unfortunately, as we approach the tenth anniversary of Katrina, formaldehyde regulations are not being enforced in the U.S., and people's health is at risk. If you are having burning eyes, congestion, sore throat, coughing, breathing difficulties, frequent sinus infections or rashes, and difficulties concentrating, you may have a formaldehyde problem. For questions or to share your story, write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Judge Invalidates EPA’s Delay of Formaldehyde Limits for Wood Products Read The Ruling Here SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Today, a federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) illegally delayed a rule intended to protect public health from formaldehyde. As mandated by Congress, EPA set limits on the amounts of hazardous formaldehyde gas that can be released from various types of manufactured wood products made and sold in the United States, including materials used in cabinets, flooring and furniture and in emergency housing and travel trailers. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen that also causes and exacerbates respiratory ailments. Under the rule finalized in 2016, wood products had to comply with the limits in December 2017. The Trump administration extended the compliance deadline to December 2018. The New Orleans-based group A Community Voice and the Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit challenging the delay. The case was filed October 31, 2017, in U.S. District Court in Oakland, California. In today’s ruling, Judge Jeffrey White found “the Delay Rule is beyond the scope of the EPA’s authority and is not in accordance with the Formaldehyde Act,” which required the formaldehyde limits. The delay “fails to satisfy the stated purpose of the Act,” which he described as “the expeditious implementation of emission standards designed to protect both the public health of vulnerable populations” and domestic manufacturers who are, in large part, meeting the formaldehyde limits from imported goods that are not. The decision is especially good news for the many Gulf Coast residents who, in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, were provided emergency shelter by FEMA in mobile homes and travel trailers that ended up causing serious health problems added to the dislocation from the storms. “There is no simple, ‘long-term fix’ for the side effects of formaldehyde poisoning, since the poisoning begins immediately,” said A Community Voice Vice President Vanessa Gueringer. “So, the Formaldehyde Emissions Standards must be put in place immediately. We have waited far too long.” The Sierra Club has been an advocate for these standards for a decade, in dialogue with such groups as the Composite Panel Association and the nonprofit National Center for Healthy Housing to make California’s tough, state formaldehyde standards the federal requirement. "Today's long-overdue decision is an important step in ensuring the health and safety of Americans recovering from disasters,” said Leslie Fields, director of the Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships Program. "The EPA's own mission is to protect Americans from significant risks to human health, and these formaldehyde standards do just that. It's time for EPA to do its job." “At long last, the EPA will protect people from hazardous formaldehyde in everyday furnishings and building materials,” Earthjustice Attorney Patti Goldman added. “The Court enforced the law and put an end to EPA’s moves to delay complying with the deadline Congress set for banning formaldehyde emissions.” The Court has directed the parties to confer about the timely implementation of the Court’s order and report to the Court by March 9, 2018. ### Formaldehyde: A Toxic Timeline 2005: Gulf Coast residents displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita begin reporting serious health problems linked to high formaldehyde emissions in travel trailers provided for emergency housing by FEMA. 2006: Indoor air quality tests by the Sierra Club of 31 of these dwellings in Mississippi and Louisiana find excessive formaldehyde levels in 96 percent of them. 2007: FEMA works with the Centers for Disease Control, which finds unsafe levels of formaldehyde in one-third of the FEMA trailers tested. FEMA adopts “Interim Direction on Use of Temporary Housing Units,” requiring that people who complain about formaldehyde-related problems be given other housing options rather than a replacement trailer. 2008: California adopts limits on formaldehyde emissions from wood products, to be phased in over the next several years. 2009: A report by the U.S. Office of the Inspector General details the problems getting FEMA to do its own tests and mitigate the complaints. Among the conclusions: “It is clear that the lack of a definitive, consistent, and well-promulgated FEMA policy resulted in some cases of problem trailers not being handled consistently.” 2010: Congress passes the Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products Act of 2010, requiring the EPA to adopt California’s formaldehyde emission standards for wood products. Congress directs EPA to require compliance with these standards in 2013, along with provisions for testing, labeling and enforcement. 2016: In July, the EPA signs—and in December, it publishes—the new rule. The rule’s effective date is Feb. 10, 2017, with compliance required for most wood products by December 12, 2017. 2017: The EPA delays the rule’s effective date until May 22, 2017. In late September, EPA extends the compliance deadline for a full year, so that compliance will not be required until December 12, 2018.
Monday, September 18, 2017
The AP has reported that FEMA is only using FEMA trailers in the Houston flooding as a last resort. This makes sense on many levels...the cost of FEMA trailers was very high, as was providing the pads, water, sewer and other infrastructure for them. Lots of taxpayer money wasted in Katrina\Rita paying outrageous prices for that infrastructure. It makes far more sense to put people up in hotels or apartments and put that money into fixing homes as quickly as possible. Also, most people didn't like living in the FEMA trailer parks. They didn't feel secure. FROM The AP: In a 2017 hurricane season that has already seen two monster storms, Harvey and Irma, manufactured homes are turning out to be just a small fraction of the federal government's plan to deal with displaced people, with only 1,700 trailers available. Where exactly the Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to send those trailers, Texas or Florida, is not yet clear. But what is clear is they will only be used as a last resort. That's in stark contrast to 2005, when 144,000 FEMA trailers became symbols of the troubled federal response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita after lawsuits accused some of those units of being riddled with high levels of cancer-causing formaldehyde. FEMA's new model for monster storms honed in the wake of 2012's Superstorm Sandy puts the emphasis on paying for hotels and apartments for temporary housing. That, along with money for super-fast fixes that allow people to move back into their own homes as quickly as possible, even before all the repairs are done. "Our role is to provide sort of the bridge to get through the disaster," FEMA spokesman Kurt Pickering said Saturday. "We are not intended to make people or households back the way they were before, to make them whole. We're designed to get them through the emergency." A joint state and federal housing task force in Austin is working with FEMA on the best way to allocate resources. But those affected are far more likely to get government support by way of a few weeks at a hotel, a couple of months of rent in an apartment or a check for repairs, than a FEMA trailer. "To put a mobile home or travel trailer out there is a significant expense — it really is the option of last resort," said Mark Miscak, an emergency management consultant and former director in FEMA's recovery division. That's the way it's playing out so far after Harvey, which damaged or destroyed more than 210,000 homes across southeast Texas, mostly from the effects of floodwaters from an epic downpour of nearly 52 inches. FEMA is picking up the tab for hotel rooms spread across Texas for about 60,000 people affected by the storm for up to two weeks. The agency is also paying a couple months' rent at the government's fair market rate for 27,000 additional households. To read the rest of the story, go to: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/fema-sees-trailers-resort-harvey-irma-49742355