About ToxicTrailers.com

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 4becky@cox.net.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

FEMA has used taxpayers to harm people

How many slumlords are replacing the walls of rundown houses with poisoned panels???

This FEMA thing has opened up a whole new can of worms.

How many so called new homes are being built with this kind of material???

Time for the Human race to take stock.

Let us put spot inspectors on all products.

You can't put a value on human life.

Don't think there is not evil among us.

I am not in a very good mood so far as the way FEMA has used the taxpayers. They are probably responsible for all or at least part of my illness including my cancer.

People of the Earth need to realize what is going on with their lives. Thanks to Becky Gillette and the Sierra Club for causing us to see.

Mickey Kizziah
1860 Beach Blvd., Lot # 8
Biloxi MS 39531
mkkizziah@megagate.com or mkkizziah@hotmail.com
ph. 228-383-2672

Friday, December 14, 2007

More testing isn't the answer...

FEMA\CDC announced yesterday they will FINALLY begin the testing of FEMA trailers for formaldehyde that was promised last summer in a congressional hearing. See the Native Times article dated 12-13-07 under toxic trailers news.

Testing done by Sierra Club, testing done by EPA and testing done by attorneys involved in lawsuits regarding formaldehyde all show that formaldehyde is a serious problem in nearly all of the units. That includes mobile homes as well as RVs. Instead of another round of testing, FEMA needs to immediately purchase some formaldehyde free emergency housing. That type of housing is available. Since the problem has already been well established, why is FEMA being so slow to act to replenish the stock of housing needed for emergencies from manufacturers willing to use building materials that don’t make people sick?

Another issue is remediation. With FEMA having purchased more than $1 billion worth of these campers, it should be joining with the CDC to evaluate various remediation tools for reducing formaldehyde to safe levels. Unfortunately, on the Gulf Coast very little affordable housing has been rebuilt due to costly requirement to elevate homes out of the flood zone combined with killer insurance rates. Many thousands of people simply don’t have any other option than the FEMA housing that has been provided to them. FEMA and CDC need to evaluate the different types of techniques to reduce formaldehyde to see if this could be a cost effective solution to the problem.

Also, it is troubling that FEMA\CDC have decided to undertake this testing at the time of year when formaldehyde emissions would be expected to be at their lowest levels. Formaldehyde outgassing increases with heat or humidity, so it seems no “accident” that FEMA—which promised last summer to quickly begin a testing program—has delayed and delayed until the coldest weather of the year.

Becky Gillette

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

faulty maintenance causes FEMA trailer fire deaths

The Gambit newspaper in New Orleans has exposed the fact that using politically connected contractors with no experience with LP gas (or RV maintenance) has caused many fires in FEMA trailers, some of which have claimed lives. Please note that because the trailers were not set up properly, this also allowed moisture infiltration from the outside that not only made formaldehyde outgassing worse, but also caused serious mold problems in many of the trailers. How many ways could FEMA $*%#&() up with these campers?


Monday, December 3, 2007

why is formaldehyde worse when heaters turned on?

We have received a number of reports that the problems with formaldehyde outgassing in trailers gets worse when the heat is turned on. Does anyone know why this would be the case?


Hi Becky:

My thoughts on why formaldehyde is worse during heating and cooling seasons.

First, formaldehyde is quite volatile and becomes more volatile at higher temperatures. It makes sense that as the insulation around the heated duct works and underneath the trailer is heated the formaldehyde is liberated and most likely just comes up through the floors.

In both the heating and cooling seasons, the windows would be closed all the time, hence very little ventilation. During other times of temperate weather, I would imagine that the windows are opened which allows the air in the trailer to turnover. Maybe, even during heating season, that it would be beneficial to open the windows for a short period each day just to bring in some fresh air and reduce formaldehyde levels that way. It may cost a few dollars per month more on heating but eliminating one visit to the doctor will pay for a lot of gas.


Bob, Photox Air Purification Systems, www.PhotoxPureAir.com.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

FEMA numbers for closings, relocating, etc.

Here are some FEMA numbers that could be useful:

FEMA hotline re formaldehyde: 1-866-562-2381

FEMA hotline re closings: 1-866-877-6075

FEMA hotline for emergency housing (only for those with formaldehyde issues: 1-800-621-3362

FEMA hotline for relocating off of the coast: 1-800-621-3362

HUD hotline about transition of rental assistance from FEMA to HUD (*for those already receiving rental assistance): 1-866-373-9509

FEMA hotline for those wanting to transition from trailer into rental assistance: 1-800-362-FEMA

MEMA hotline for those in trailers interested in MS cottages: 1-866-726-6247

Ella [ellakliger@yahoo.com]

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mold a big problem in FEMA mobile homes

KNOE Television in Monroe, LA, has reported a little known fact: Mold is a huge problem in FEMA mobile homes...see below. Formaldehyde outgassing increases with higher humidity, so this problem is making the formaldehyde worse.

MONROE(TV8) -Earlier this month, a TV8 News special investigation uncovered a design flaw on the vast majority of FEMA mobile homes in the gulf coast region. We reported that the flaw may lead to a build up of potentally toxic levels of mold.

Tonight, a follow up: TV8's Stephen Mayer finds FEMA has been selling these design-flawed mobiles homes to the public, in spite of shocking test results from house trailers right here in Ouachita Parish.

Since our report, building science expert Bobby Parks examined the inside of walls for two mobile homes located at the Double K Estate in Ouachita Parish. his results are stunning.

Parks explains, "What we found was the wall cavities were anywhere from 10-30,000 times higher on one specific mold spore than what was found on the outside. This is very indicative of a wall that is exposed to an elevated level of moisture."

What may be more stunning is the fact that FEMA is trying to sell these homes to unsuspecting residents.

FEMA's website says it has temporarily suspended the sale of travel trailers and mobile homes until further notice.

But just last week, Leon Andrews, who lives in a FEMA trailer at the Double K Estate trailer park, received a fax from FEMA, offering to sell him the three-bedroom mobile home for $9,750. This, even though testing found its walls contaminated with mold, which Parks says poses a potential health risk.

Parks says, "Young children that have weak immune systems to start with have not built up yet, elderly people who have respiratory compromises become very susceptible to what is called a sick building syndrome."

But FEMA spokesman Ronnie Simpson told TV8 News mold can form in any housing structure.

Simpson says, "Mold and moisture and humidity I mean they are all related. Certainly when it comes to housing it is not an unusual thing to find."

FEMA's offer tells Andrews a representative from its housing sales office would contact him to arrange a closing date to finalize the purchase of the housing unit.

FEMA's spokesman says the agency is just trying to provide more permanent housing for displaced residents.

Simpson says,"If in fact it is fine for us to sell them we want to know who would like to buy them. The sales program is a very small part of what we do to help recovering families move on to some permanent housing."

And, to recoup some of the money the federal government has spent on what Bobby Parks says are design-flawed mobile homes.

If you live in a travel trailer or mobile home and suspect there may be mold problems, call the fema travel trailer hotline toll-free at 888 294 2822.

Friday, November 16, 2007

escaped FEMA trailer to get modular home with same problems

So post Katrina,

I am required to live in a trailer that was full of formaldehyde. So in an effort to get into a home as soon as possible, I buy what is touted as a modular home.

When I move in, after paying in full for the house, I find that my modular home has formaldehyde warning signs on all the walls. What's up? So I take the signs down , open the windows, and run the air conditioner cause it is 90 degrees outside with 90 percent humidity in New Orleans in July and August. I can't afford to AC my neighborhood, so I close the windows and the cough that I have had off and on since
Katrina will not go away. It is a constant tickle in my throat.

Lord help us!

Thanks to this group, I have been able to order testing kits to see just how much toxins I am living with or slowly dying from.

Elizabeth, erhodes@xula.edu

Can't sleep in camper because fumes are so bad...

On Nov 7, 2007 10:25 AM, woodruff, woodruff@montanasky.net, wrote:

We have yet to stay in our camper! Just to go in burns the eyes and we don't want to sleep in it what are we do it isn't paid for yet?

I would hire a lawyer...we haven't found any of the manufacturers willing to stand behind their product and offer refunds or fix the problems. Becky

Saturday, November 10, 2007

1999 5th wheel tests over the limit for formaldehyde

My husband and I purchased a 1999 Cameo Carriage 5th wheel last summer. We noticed a pungent odor when we first stepped into the coach but dismissed it as a "new camper smell" even though the RV was six years old. We soon found out that this odor permeated sealed food and anything that was in the camper for more than a few hours. We opened a new bag of chips that had been in the pantry overnight and it tasted like this strange odor. The smell would not come out of Tupperware when run through a dishwasher on the hottest level.

In the meantime, my "allergies" went into overdrive. Burning eyes and throat, sneezing, and wheezing. Not horrible, but annoying. I decided to call the Carriage company, and the customer service agent flatly denied ever using formaldehyde in any of their coaches. We couldn't believe that the odor was anything else, so we tested for formaldehyde and the level was .11 ppm. Not that high, but high enough to cause problems.

I called Carriage back and informed the same representative of the test results, and he told me to pursue it if I want to but there is nothing more to be said or done on their end.

For now, I am going to re-test for formaldehyde to double check the results. I am also letting a dry water bottle sit for a couple of days in the RV, capping it, and sending it to Advanced Chemicals, where the formaldehyde test kit was received.

I'd love to hear if anyone else has had similar problems. I spoke with an RV dealer for another company and he basically said, "Get over it. They're all made with formaldehyde. Just open your windows." Now, isn't that a nice solution? *sigh*

Tami Schmidt (Ohio)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

CA fire victims next to be poisoned by FEMA?

I just spoke with Joseph Carmouche of Kiln, Miss. We did two tests of their FEMA provided mobile home (ironically, one designed for people with disabilities). The test results from 7-31-07 were 0.186 ppm. Tests results from 8-24-07 after they had tried airing it out were 0.136 ppm. Both are clearly over the limit of 0.1 ppm which is much higher than what most agencies say is safe for long term exposure (see standards below). Mr. Carmouche, who is elderly, had a serious rash that was nearly fatal, and his wife has also had a bad rash (one of the symptoms of formaldehyde poisoning). Mr. Carmouche has emphysema which got worse after moving into the FEMA mobile home and his wife’s asthma has worsened. They also have had the classic symptom of burning eyes.

FEMA has stopped deploying the RVs because of high formaldehyde levels but continues to distribute mobile homes to victims of disasters. Both the experience of the Huckabees (Lindsay Huckabee testified in Congress about the numerous medical problems her family has suffered as a result of high formaldehyde levels in their FEMA mobile home) and the Carmouche family is that the mobile homes also have this problem.

Are thousands of fire victims in California the next to be poisoned by these FEMA mobile homes? Why has FEMA not tested the mobile homes while assuming they are safe? The mobile homes are made of the same materials as the RVs. Evidently the HUD regulations regarding formaldehyde in mobile homes either aren’t effective or weren’t being enforced when these trailers were made.

One of Sierra Club’s highest formaldehyde test readings at Renaissance Village in Louisiana was the mobile medical unit! This isn’t just a problem confined to RVs.

FEMA still hasn’t learned its lesson. Sure, it is difficult to decide how to house disaster victims if the mobile homes are also high in formaldehyde. But at least in California there should be enough alternate housing that people don’t have to choose between being poisoned by formaldehyde or being homeless.

Becky Gillette, bgillette4@cox.net

Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) [US DHHS, CDC]

Minimal Risk Levels (MRL) for formaldehyde

Acute MRL: 0.04 ppm (1-14 days exposure)
Intermediate duration MRL: 0.03 ppm (>14-364 days exposure)
Chronic duration MRL: 0.008 ppm (365 or more days exposure)

World Health Organization (WHO)

30-minute average: 0.08 ppm

Monday, October 22, 2007

Soldier poisoned not by war but chemicals

I am a MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) Patient. I am writing to let your readers know that they now have been exposed and will continue to have issues since their exposure to formaldehyde in FEMA trailers. I currently take chemicals shots for Formaldehyde, Phenol and Ethanol. I have respiratory issues that once I smell chemicals my vocal chords swell and my throat closes up.

I live in Canton, MS and travel to Gadsden, AL to receive treatment. The main point I wanted to point out is that perfumes, colognes, shaving creams, laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids and other products contain these chemicals and when they get as bad as mine they will have to quit using these products or suffer more than necessary.

I have been dealing with this for 2 years, although my initial exposure was actually 18 years ago. Everyone's body is different and our bodies can defend themselves at different levels until it can't fight it. My biggest concern is that the children living in these campers will face what I face. I am 39 years old and a soldier who is crippled not by the war or civil unrest, but by the chemicals in our environment. Anyone with questions can feel free to email me at andyfarbarker@bellsouth.net. You can enter any new mobile home property and open the door to a new mobile home and the formaldehyde will take your breath away even if you are not sensitive. Thanks for reading this email.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

URGENT!! Document problems with FEMA trailers

Folks: If you have lived or are living in a FEMA trailer that has made you and your family sick, it is VERY IMPORTANT that you document your health problems and send that information to FEMA. If there is a settlement from the government regarding its negligence in poisoning people with emergency housing, in order to receive a settlement you must have your problems documented.

Keep copies of your medical bills, and contact FEMA to make sure they have your complaints on file. FEMA "lost" a lot of the earlier complaints so if you have previously filed complaints or asked for re-location, call to make sure they have record of it. Early on FEMA kept denying it had received more than a few complaints when we knew hundreds of people were sick. It was common knowledge along the Gulf Coast about the formaldehyde problems long before FEMA admitted it.

If you are fortunate, after leaving the toxic trailers your health will improve. But many people continue to have lingering problems. Make sure this is documented so if there is a settlement, you will be part of it.

Becky Gillette, bgillette4@cox.net

Monday, October 8, 2007

time to demand safe campers!

Please let everyone know that the formaldehyde problem is not limited to just FEMA trailers. We bought a brand new 2006 40’ coach for our retirement. Although it was brand new we later found out it was built in late 2004 or early 2005. Therefore the dealer had it for well over a year before we purchased it in August of 2006. It did not “air out” in all that time and as a result we are both now suffering with pulmonary problems. I have read many articles from other individuals experiencing the same symptoms and are stuck with coaches, fifth wheelers and travel trailers that are affecting their health and they cannot use.

If anyone else has suffered burning eyes or throat, skin rash or breathing problems please tell them to send an email to rv-formaldehyde@comcast.net. They will forward all emails to a law firm that is doing a study for a class action suit. The RVIA has their powerful attorneys that may have been able to keep all this quiet. But it is time for the consumer to demand a safe standard of construction for a product that does not make them sick.

Rhonda Leonard


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

RV industry denies problem

As would be expected in an industry publication, the RV industry is denying there is any problem with high formaldehyde levels in trailers.

Here is an excerpt from RV Trade Digest (a link to the article is listed under Toxic Trailer News):

"For the most part, the formaldehyde issue is yet the latest hit job by what Rush Limbaugh calls the drive-by media – reporters acting like gang members who spray bullets into a crowd causing mass panic and hysteria only to calmly drive away unscathed and unnoticed as the gangsters look for their next victims."

This reporter ought to be required to spend just one weekend in a camper like Marvin Motes that has tested at over .3 ppm. You literally can't stay in one of these campers 15 minutes without it becoming immediately apparent you are being poisoned. We have gotten calls and email from people all over the country who have suffered from formaldehyde poisoning for a product they paid good money for. Yet instead of fixing the problem, the RV industry just continues to ignore it.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

formaldehyde test below .1 ppm but I'm still sick

I put a formaldehyde test in my kitchen. The reading was 0.06.2. I have been told that this level is no cause for concern, however I still feel like crap......I keep having sinus problems, and I stay tired. I got my blood gas test results from the hospital, and it said everything was normal, however it did not say anything about my formic acid levels. I have been told that this is what should be tested for formaldehyde poisoning. Is this true? Is there some other type of test I should have taken? I will be putting another formaldehyde test in the bedroom today, for I feel that maybe there is some in the dressers, and nightstands....Please e-mail me back for any info, because Im having a hard time getting anyone to tell me what kind of test should be done to detect this in the body....


Melissa: The .1 ppm limit listed on the test kit is not for long term exposure that can be as much as 24 hours per day. Some agencies recommend much lower long term exposure limits. Your test is higher than those levels. The Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) Minimal Risk Levels (MRL): Acute MRL: 0.04 ppm (1-14 days exposure); Intermediate duration MRL: 0.03 ppm (>14-364 days exposure); Chronic duration MRL: 0.008 ppm (365 or more days exposure)

It is likely the formaldehyde levels are higher in the bedroom especially right near where you sleep at night close to the particle board. I don't know how useful the formic acid testing is as one woman we know got a low reading for it but has still been quite sick. Best thing is to get out of the camper. FEMA is providing temporary housing assistance and even moving people into trailers.

I need to see a doctor about the recurrence of eye-burning from needing to leave the trailer windows closed in the summer. Do you know whether FEMA takes any responsibility? Do we need to see FEMA's doctors? What sort of treatment can be used to help the symptoms?

Jana Henson, New Orleans

Dear Jana: FEMA doesn't have any doctors, but there is a fax number you can send requests to be reimbursed for medical bills related to formaldehyde. The number is 1-800-827-8112. I know some people with eye problems have been prescribed expensive medications. One woman's eye drops are costing her $60 for a five-day supply. You would have to see a physician to see what might be recommended in your case.


Katrina gets government help in destroying lives

have been living in a fema camper since November 2005 due to Katrina. I had a Sharper Image Ionic Breeze Quadra air cleaner running all the time, I keep one window open all the time and hang a blanket over the screen door with the main door open, summer and winter. Things were iffy, I got sick a lot but got over it each time. Now the air cleaner has quit working and I am going downhill quickly. I have a raging sore throat all the time which improves when I am not in here. I'm exhausted all the time. Not just tired, EXHAUSTED. I can't think clearly most of the time. I've had skin rashes galore. My eyes water and burn the entire time I'm in this camper and I wake up with them just about glued shut every morning. My vision has deteriorated considerably since the storm, but I'm not sure if that's from the camper or not. I'm constantly coughing up God knows what kind of pestilence, my sinuses are just shot. I have no money to go to the doctor, so I'm just stuck. My house is still gutted and will probably not be fixed for several more years. The grant program put my well over 90% damaged house at 62% damage and try as I might, I could not make the money cover it all, so I have almost everything I need to fix it, just can't get past the open inspection or pay for labor or continually renewing the permits. With that being the case, I have little hope of getting out of this thing any time soon. The stress of trying to work to pay my bills, take care of the million things you have to do to rebuild a house and being sick all the time is taking its toll. I am alone, there is no one to do any of this but me. This is looking more and more like a no-win situation. What Katrina didn't take at the start, she's getting now, because there isn't enough of me left to take care of it all. I just didn't think she was going to be getting all this government help!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thousands still exposed

A story today--the second anniversary of Katrina--in the Mississippi Press says that in Mississippi alone there are still 17,149 FEMA units being used as housing. Here is an excerpt from the article (read the entire article by clicking on the news link):

Now we have to deal with formaldehyde in the trailer. That's why they're moving us out of here. They put these trailers together so fast, and now our eyes water and our noses bleed.

...Mandy Allen and her 17-year-old son Richard Bannocken have the same formaldehyde problem. Allen said she experienced a nose bleed Tuesday morning and has them daily. She said her son and boyfriend both have frequent head-aches and watery eyes. Her son also has frequent nose bleeds.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Huckabees on Oprah, Weather Channel

On Wednesday, Aug. 29, the anniversary of Katrina, my family's experience with formaldehyde in our FEMA mobile home will be featured on both the Weather Channel and the Oprah show. Show times are listed below.

Weather Channel - Wednesday August 29th 9am - 1pm EST (the Weather Channel repeats programming over 4 hour blocks)

Oprah - Wednesday August 29th 4pm EST (We will be featured as part of the "Ask Dr. Oz" portion of the show.)

Thank you all and enjoy the shows.

Steven M. Huckabee

Friday, August 24, 2007

bake-off should only be done by professionals

These people do not know how to do the bake-off procedure -- that is why it is not working. The details of doing this are complicated and need to be done by a professional. That is why we as a group decided that the Sierra Club would not sanction baking-off.

Mary C. DeVany, MS, CSP, CHMM
DeVany Industrial Consultants
14507 NW 19th Ave.
Vancouver, WA 98685-8003 USA
Phone: (360) 546-0999
Fax: (360) 546-0777
Home: (360) 576-1976
E-mail: mdevany@earthlink.net

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

baking off should only be done by professionals

Marvin Motes again tried the baking off procedure to reduce the formaldehyde in his camper. This time he heated the camper and used continual ventilation for several days. It didn’t work. He didn’t even need to do another test as he walked in the camper and immediately felt the impact of the formaldehyde. We have been hearing a lot of people are trying to fix this problem with the baking off but it doesn’t appear to work. There must just be too much formaldehyde to deal with. One person told me, I think when they were supposed to use a teaspoon of formaldehyde they used a gallon. Becky

Ms. Becky,

The "bake out" process is the most effective way to rid a home of any sort of VOC's.... however it is NOT a process that an untrained lay-person can effectively administer!

Bobby (professional RV dealer)

Monday, August 20, 2007

I thought I was dying...

Dear Sirs,
I purchased a FEMA mobile home which I dearly love in August 2006. I had been living in a FEMA trailer since hurricanes Jean, Frances, etc. came thru Polk County. I was given option to buy mobile home.
I and my two grown children, my daughter is legally blind, have been having lots of breathing difficulties. Headaches. Sinus. Skin rashes. Being tired all the time and I have had joint pains as well as my daughter.
Over the past few months it seems so bad I actually thought I was dying that something was really wrong because of the chronic fatigue and joints symptoms and headaches and breathing problems. My mother was over today and informed me to get my mobile home checked as FEMA has a formaldehyde problem. I started researching symptoms and my god we have most of the symptoms.
Who do I contact to get my trailer tested?
Thank you for your help,
Jamie, angelspirit@tampabay.rr.com

FEMA camper is finishing me off...

I have been living in a FEMA camper since November 2005 due to Katrina. I had a Sharper Image Ionic Breeze Quadra air cleaner running all the time, I keep one window open all the time and hang a blanket over the screen door with the main door open, summer and winter. Things were iffy, I got sick a lot but got over it each time. Now the air cleaner has quit working and I am going downhill quickly. I have a raging sore throat all the time which improves when I am not in here. I'm exhausted all the time. Not just tired, EXHAUSTED.
I can't think clearly most of the time. I've had skin rashes galore. My eyes water and burn the entire time I'm in this camper and I wake up with them just about glued shut every morning. My vision has deteriorated considerably since the storm, but I'm not sure if that's from the camper or not. I'm constantly coughing up God knows what kind of pestilence, my sinuses are just shot. I have no money to go to the doctor, so I'm just stuck.
My house is still gutted and will probably not be fixed for several more years. The grant program put my well over 90% damaged house at 62% damage and try as I might, I could not make the money cover it all, so I have almost everything I need to fix it, just can't get past the open inspection or pay for labor or continually renewing the permits. With that being the case, I have little hope of getting out of this thing any time soon. The stress of trying to work to pay my bills, take care of the million things you have to do to rebuild a house and being sick all the time is taking its toll.
I am alone, there is no one to do any of this but me. This is looking more and more like a no-win situation. What Katrina didn't take at the start, she's getting now, because there isn't enough of me left to take care of it all. I just didn't think she was going to be getting all this government help!

(From decimateddvotion@aol.com)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Please help me and my babies!

On 8/13/07, Melissa wrote:

I really need help. I have all the symptoms of formaldehyde poisoning, and I have twin boys here. My house was destroyed in the Feb. 24th tornado and we are living in a FEMA trailer. Is there some sort of test I can get to detect the levels? They are pretty high from what I hear. My doctor sent me to the hospital to get a blood gas test done, and they said everything was fine. But I still feel so horrible, and my babies are fussier than usual, and they sleep a lot. What kind of test should be done in people to detect this chemical, because I think maybe the hospital did something wrong......Thank You

Response from Becky: One person who bought a FEMA trailer at a GSA auction had a blood test done on him and his wife to test for FORMIC ACID. The blood was drawn at the University Of Mississippi Medical Center, and was sent to the NMS Labs, P. O. Box 433A, Willow Grove, Pa. 19090-0437. The test shows on a scale of 2 to 12 how much exposure you have had. The woman tested only a 2 but has been staying sick from living in the camper.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oklahoma FEMA trailer odors overwhelming

I run a mobile home park and have had a FEMA trailer move in. I went into the unit with the electrician and owner to address an electrical issue. While we were in the unit, there was a very strong odor from the bathroom. The owner stepped into the
bathroom with the door open and came out with his eyes burning, red, and watering. I stepped in to see if I could smell something and my nasal cavity and throat
started burning. The electrician had to step out of the unit because his throat started to burn and scratch.

Now that the electrical problems have been resolved they are facing a chemical or toxic problem. The place where he bought the trailer are not offering any solution except to open the windows. The windows had been open for 2 weeks when we noticed the reaction.

Please direct us on where to get some help.

Thank you,
Darecca Jensen

exposure problems could linger for years

I am a MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity) Patient. I am writing to let your readers know that they now have been exposed and will continue to have issues since their exposure. I cuurently take chemicals shots for Formaldehyde, Phenol and Ethanol. I have respiratory issues that once I smell chemicals my vocal chords swell and my throat closes up.
I live in Canton, MS and travel to Gadsden, AL to receive treatment.The main point I wanted to point out is that perfumes, colognes, shaving creams, laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids and other products contain these chemicals and when they get as bad as mine they will have to quit using these products or suffer more than necessary.
I have been dealing with this for 2 years, although my initial exposure was actually 18 years ago. Everyone's body is different and our bodies can defend themselves at different levels until it can't fight it.
My biggest concern is that the children living in these campers will face what I face. I am 39 years old and a soldier who is crippled not by the war or civil unrest, but by the chemicals in our environment. Anyone with questions can feel free to email me at andyfarbarker@bellsouth.net.
You can enter any new mobile home property and open the door to a new mobile home and the formaldehyde will take your breath away even if you are not sensitive. Thanks for reading this email.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

misery spreading to low-income people in Oklahoma

Just had a call from Darecca Jensen, 918-457-6264, dareccajensen@yahoo.com, who owns a mobile home park in Tahlequah, Okla., capital of Cherokee nation. She says that a local organization called Community Action is selling FEMA trailers to local low income residents in four counties in Oklahoma. Yesterday a man with two small children came with his former FEMA trailer. Upon setting up the trailer, he was overcome by fumes in the bathroom. His eyes teared up and became very bloodshot. Dareeca and the electrician were also adversely impacted by the fumes. Darecca tried to talk to Community Action about it, and they were hostile. They said they aren’t a state or federal group. Darecca is concerned this toxic housing is being foisted off on low-income people being charged $175 per month for five years. The man with the two small children has no where else to go but this camper.


Sunday, August 12, 2007

Urgent need to act now!

Please send your prayers today for Mickey Kizziah, who is undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer. As he was flying off to Texas for surgery, I delivered the news that the formaldehyde levels in his FEMA camper in Gulfport tested well over the limit at .16 ppm. Mickey was in good health until he started living in the FEMA trailer. He has turned yellow and jokes about that. He has a really good attitude, but it just infuriates me to think of him living in this toxic environment for so long.

A nurse in Texas who has lost the ability to work because of memory problems and other health issues that developed after she purchased a travel trailer and lived in it. Her tests came in one of the highest we have seen (.41 ppm) except for Marvin Motes of Vancleave, who had a similar Keystone camper that tested at .42 ppm.

A woman from Gulf Park Estates I tested has multiple health problems, and says her head feels like a balloon with too much air in it. Someone keeps trying to blow more air into it. She has difficulty even laying her head on the pillow, it hurts so bad. Her trailer tested at .165 ppm. Eye drops to relieve the pressure in her eyes cost $95 for five days.

And tests were extremely high for Rev. James Harris of Gulfport who testified in Congress about this problem. His test came in at .385 ppm. He and his family have suffered many health problems including one emergency room visit where Rev. Harris thought was having a heart attack. The bill for that one visit alone was $5,000. When I told him the test results, he could hardly believe it and was ashamed he hadn’t taken better care of his family. I told him it wasn’t his fault, but I know he still feels shock and horror to learn that the place they have been living in has been poisoning them.

This is just four stories. There are probably thousands more. We need to DO SOMETHING MORE to get people moved out of these toxic campers IMMEDIATELY!!!



advice for ventilating trailers

Perhaps this post will be useful for your visitors. I've been fighting this for about a year and some of what I've learned might help others.

How to ventilate a trailer

You've heard that ventilation will help and that with time the wood in the trailer will become less toxic. Ventilation will help you manage the formaldehyde but the engineered wood in the trailer will always be bad. We had 25-year-old cabinets still too toxic to tolerate, with formaldehyde levels exceeding .3 ppm.

As some trailer residents are discovering, keeping doors and windows open can make formaldehyde levels worse. How does that work? In urban areas high levels of ozone pollution and high indoor temperatures will cause products to release formaldehyde at a faster rate. This is part of what made our apartment so dangerous - I let it get too hot while trying to ventilate it. I was able to record the resulting formaldehyde levels. It isn't pretty.

Need tips on surviving the trailer experience? Open windows and doors to keep a good cross breeze going 24/7 and place a large easy to read
thermometer on the face of one of the cabinets. Try to keep all rooms open and ventilated. If you don't feel a breeze in the center of the trailer put a fan near a window to force air in.

When the interior temperature climbs into the mid 80's it is time to leave the trailer. This could be the time of day you go to the library to read about formaldehyde. It would be good to shade the trailer from the afternoon sun if possible.

We now keep windows open while running the air conditioner. This provides fresh air ventilation and keeps the place cool enough to keep formaldehyde under control. Keep an eye on condensation buildup from the AC - you don't want to encourage mold growth or water damage. Yes our power bill is high but it is actually much cheaper than the doctor bills it prevents.

When sleeping keep your head away from trailer wood. This probably means sleeping with your head at the foot of the bed. You really don't want anyone stuffed into a tight airspace with her head under a bookshelf, in a narrow space under a bunk, or in a small loft area. Everyone should be sleeping with good fresh airflow over the face, not just air that is circulating around the trailer.

The best way to ventilate a trailer and protect families? Move everyone out and use a wrecking ball on the trailer. Trailers can't be fixed without completely replacing the interior with safe materials like metal and hardwoods. Adding chemical sealants or painting the junk wood might seem easy but you'd really need to dismantle everything to reach the sides and backs of the wood panels and counters. We did three coats of sealant in our cabinets and it wasn't enough.

David Wilson

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

five months in FEMA trailer cost $50k in medical bills

After the storm, my husband and I lived in a FEMA trailer for 5 months, until we could buy a new house. While living in that FEMA trailer my husband got extremely sick. He had bleeding coming from his lungs. He has spent time in three different hospitals for a week at a time in two of them, they took all kinds of tests for cancer, TB, mold, fungus, you name it they tested him. All they could come up with was that he had double pnemonia in both lungs, pumped him with antibiotics, probed him and still never really gave any solid results as to why his lungs were bleeding. Our hospital bills were over $50,000.00 dollars before it was all over with. Insurance paid a lot of it but we still ended up paying approx $5,000. out of pocket money, not to mention the stress and not knowing what was going to happen to him.. they never could really say why he was sick. He finally got better, once we moved out of the fema trailer but he still to this day has trouble with his breathing..

We believe the fema trailer is what made him sick all that time. All the time we were living in it, he was always sick and feeling really bad.

Thanks, Audrey and Jerry

Monday, August 6, 2007

manufacturers should be held accountable

(NOTE: The following blog is in response to the Miami Herald column (click on right under news) Heck of a job FEMA by Leonard Pitts.

Mr Pitts,

I am an avid reader of your columns and for the most part I have to agree with your opinions. The article (which I am in total agreement with) missed another target by a mile. That Target would be the wonderful folks that actually manufactured these "Toxic Tin Cans". I am one of the unfortunate people that actually enjoyed owning a Camper Trailer. I bought one in March 2006. I bought a new one and mine is quite a bit more expensive than the "no frills" trailers that FEMA provided. And one thing really struck a nerve in your article - Morality. The people that manufactures these trailers have (if possible) less Morality than FEMA.

As for the exposure - you cannot imagine how bad breathing Formaldehyde gas is. My camper tested higher than any of the FEMA trailers that the local Sierra Club tested. Mine came tested at .42ppm - the EPA recommends .1ppm as the maximum level to be exposed to. Oh yes, the EPA or no other agency regulates standards of indoor air quality for an RV. I have lots of correspondence regarding my camper and it's contamination. The Manufacturer stated in the last letter I received from them that "formaldehyde is not a warrantable defect".

I urge you to use the power of the press to do another follow-up story on this subject and also give the Trailer Manufacturers their credits.

Very Respectfully,

Marvin C. Motes
16500 Lake Dr. W.
Vancleave, MS 39565

Thursday, August 2, 2007

put blame on manufacturers!

This is a response to the Heck of a job FEMA column by Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts (see link to news stories at right)

I am an avid reader of your columns and for the most part I have to agree with your opinions. The above article (which I am in total agreement with) missed another target by a mile. That Target would be the wonderful folks that actually manufactured these "Toxic Tin Cans". I am one of the unfortunate people that actually enjoyed owning a Camper Trailer. I bought one in March 2006. I bought a new one and mine is quite a bit more expensive than the "no frills" trailers that FEMA provided. And one thing really struck a nerve in your article - Morality. The people that manufacture these trailers have (if possible) less Morality than FEMA.

As for the exposure - you cannot imagine how bad breathing Formaldehyde gas is. My camper tested higher than any of the FEMA trailers that the local Sierra Club tested. Mine came tested at .42ppm - the EPA recommends .1ppm as the maximum level to be exposed to. Oh yes, the EPA or no other agency regulates standards of indoor air quality for an RV. I have lots of correspondence regarding my camper and it's contamination. The Manufacturer stated in the last letter I received from them that "formaldehyde is not a warrantable defect".

I urge you to use the power of the press to do another follow-up story on this subject and also give the Trailer Manufacturers their credits.

Very Respectfully,

Marvin C. Motes
Vancleave, MS

New RV test WAY over the limit...




Note from Becky: The contamination in this camper was so bad they were getting nosebleeds.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

average formaldehyde levels off the chart

When ATSDR did a report for FEMA on the formaldehyde levels found in FEMA trailers, they said .3 ppm—the average level measured by EPA in FEMA trailers--was “below the level of concern.” Now they have changed their story. See what they are saying on their website:

ATSDR chose to compare the data from the sampling of unoccupied trailers to 0.3 parts of formaldehyde per million parts of air (ppm), based on scientific literature that has documented health effects from exposure to formaldehyde at that level. The 0.3 ppm is the level at which symptoms are clearly observed. This level is higher than the level that would be considered acceptable for families to live in. In its Toxicological Profile about formaldehyde, ATSDR provides minimal risk levels (MRLs) for exposures to formaldehyde. At or below the MRL a person exposed to a hazardous substance would not usually experience symptoms. These levels are 0.04 ppm of formaldehyde for 1 to 14 days of continuous exposure, 0.03 ppm of formaldehyde for up to 365 days of continuous exposure, and 0.008 ppm of formaldehyde for longer than 1 year. These MRL’s include safety factors designed to protect sensitive populations, such as small children. A range of health effects linked with formaldehyde and other information about formaldehyde can be found at http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp111.html.

Information on FEMA trailers and formaldehyde is available on the CDC website at:

Monday, July 30, 2007

Fumes so strong in Keystone can hardly stand it

I am wondering if any of the formaldehyde testing was done on any Keystone travel trailers and what the results were? I have a Keystone Hornet purchased shortly after Hurricane Katrina. The fumes are so strong that even if I air it out I can hardly stand to be in there. I was told by the manufacturer that they do not use products containing formaldehyde. The Keystone owners manual I have states that "Keystone does not use products containing formaldehyde". The newer owner's manual I found on the Keystone RV (revised in Sept 2006) website has omitted this statement and now contains warnings on formaldehyde.
I was told by the dealer and manufacturer the trailer did not contain formaldehyde and would be safe for us to live in. I was pregnant at the time and had other children one of which was born severely premature. I purchased the trailer with the intent of living in it for a period of 3-6 months while our house was being built. I started having symptoms the first month I was in the trailer (insomnia, concentration problems, memory loss, muscle aches, fatigue, hair loss). We have been out of the trailer for ten months now and I am still experiencing the same symptoms. The symptoms are so severe at times I have had to take a leave of absence from my job as a nurse.

trailer bought at auction makes eyes burn

We recently purchased a FEMA trailer from the GSAuctions.gov website. We have not yet "used" the trailer, but the few times I went inside to begin stocking it, my eyes burned so badly, I had to get out. I assumed it had to do with the products they used to clean the trailers prior to resale. Today we were made aware of an issue with formaldehyde. How can we test our trailer for formaldehyde levels? Is there a kit we can get? Is it safe to use? Can you offer any advice or next steps?

Thank you in advance for your help!


hard time walking to mailbox and back

Have been keeping up with issue since may 2006 thanks to the Sierra Club's intervention--.

I know we need a safe amount of formaldehyde in woods to keep bugs from enjoying their favorite past time--eating.

Couple of weeks before moving into FEMA trailer I walked according to ex coach of high school football here in area 15 miles with coach.

Now I have a hard time to walk to mail box and back.

FEMA says they will bring in another trailer or subsidise on renting of apt.

Have asked FEMA to come in and use sniffer to determine levels of harmful agents.

When I first called fema said they would be out in six hours--they never showed up.

I feel I should not let trailer go before it is tested.

Could your organization perform these tests???

Please advise.

wife sick since moving into Fleetwood


Can you please tell me who I can get to run a test for FORMALDEHYDE in a FEMA trailer that I bought from GSA. My wife is a nurse and she stays in the trailer while she is working. Our home is too far to drive back and forth every day. The trailer is a 2006 Fleetwood Morgan. As I was looking at NBC news last week and the trailer that was used on the news cast showing the inside is a twin to the one that I have. My wife has been sick every since she moved into the trailer but we had no reason to think that was the reason. If there is someone that i can get to test the trailer, I would like to get it done as soon as possible. Thank you so much for your time, Charles

Response from Becky: A test kit is on the way.

formaldehyde a problem in earlier emergency housing, too

pam resendiz
EarthLink Revolves Around You.







Response from Becky:

At the FEMA hearings in Congress last week they asked FEMA Director Paulison if this was a problem with FEMA trailers before Katrina\Rita. He said they didn't have any knowledge of it. But it appears from your experience this has been an issue for many years. We think it escaped notice for the same reason it has in the RV industry: People would get sick but not connect it to the formaldehyde outgassing.

Fumes still unbearable


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

trailer reeks of formaldehyde

Unfortunately, I am one of the individuals with a trailer that reeks of formaldehyde. I addressed my concern right after I received my trailer and was told "just leave the windows open"....well its been over a year now and it still reeks. I suspect that the damage from staying in these type trailers has already been done. It’s sad that all of this mess was generated from one disaster...and our governments (both State and Federal) have failed us. Who will be held accountable for the illnesses and deaths that result from this problem?

The FEMA reps that come out for my monthly trailer site visit all notice it the minute they step into my trailer. One of them actually could not stay in it very long because it was strong smelling.

If you would like to come check mine, please give me a call.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

health problems since Charlie


Family questions first experience with new RV

After reading and hearing about the recent health hazards that the travel trailers have caused for the Hurricane Katrina residents, I began questioning the health hazards my 2008 Max Lite travel trailer may cause to my family. We purchased this unit in the beginning of July and used it once. In that one trip my daughter got a bloody nose, my son's asthma was at a high level, my youngest son's nose was congested and mine and my husband's sinuses were blocked.

How can we go about checking the levels of formaldehyde in this unit? Do we need to contact the Environmental agency or can you guys do a testing for individuals? Since this unit is brand new on the market can there be some special testing done prior to selling?

Please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Thank you,


Francine: Considering your symptoms, I would definitely encourage you to get tested. Bloody noses in particular are common the FEMA trailers here that have high formaldehyde levels, and health experts say that is a major cause for concern. You can order a test kit from Advanced Chemical Sensors, Boca Raton, FL, 561-338-3116. The cost is about $34. Please write back when you get your test results.


Monday, July 23, 2007

who's really to blame?

Thanks for all the updates on this issue. However why isn't OSHA and these trailer manufacturers being held accountable and responsible for allowing these products/trailers to be sold to the public? Are they in bed together? That's the real issue here, not FEMA. Obviously these trailers are being sold throught the country by every manufacturer in the US to the general public. Why doesn't someone put the spotlight and point the finger at OSHA and the manufacturers to improve their standards regarding chemical levels, materials used etc,?

Who's really in charge or overseas the building codes and standards that are allowed by manufacturers to sell a certain product to consumers that is safe without health hazards? We cannot allow this agencies and manufactures to get away with these deadly practices any longer. There will be millions of people retiring in the near future who will be purchasing trailers, motor homes, 5th wheels etc, that will be exposing all kinds of toxic chemicals to not only older people put their grandchildren as well. Please let me know who these agencies are and again keep up the fight and great work that you are doing to keep us informed on these issues.



Sunday, July 22, 2007

RV problems haven't gone away

i bought a 2007 keystone cougar travel trailer and i noticed a burning in my eyes and throat and the salesman told me it was because the unit was new and it would go away. well it hasnt gone away and i cant even use this unit, i paid $ 23,000 for this health hazzard. ive been ripped off and i believe they should have made me aware of this before i bought it. i bought it for myself and my 26 month old son to enjoy on the weekends and now i dont want to expose him or myself to this hazard.

im thinking of filing suit against the manufactuter and the place who sold me the unit.

please help with any info you may have.

thank you

Scott B.

mother, son sick from FEMA trailer exposure

Hi, My name is Jennifer and I am writing you in regards to the FEMA Trailer and the illnesses that my son is being exposed to. My son is two years old and was always a very healthy child since birth until we moved into the FEMA trailer on January 29, 2006 and lived there until February 3, 2007. Since we have lived in the trailer my son has been experiencing trouble breathing and breathing very heavily at night. He has never had any signs or symptoms of this before we moved in. He also has been complaining a lot of headaches. When he sleeps at night his breathing gets worse.

I also have been experiencing a lot of hair loss. I am 25 years old and when I shower or brush my hair it falls out in clumps. I feel nausea almost everyday and this has been going on since last year. I am extremely concerned about this. I am also 100 percent sure that these problems have occurred because of this FEMA trailer. We would walk in the door and sometimes my eyes would burn. I thought at times it was just allergies but confident now that it was not.

Please tell me what my next step is to do. I have brought my son to the doctor over and over and the doctors just keep telling me that he has a cold. I don't believe that either. He also experienced trouble using the bathroom and I know that did not start until after we moved in to the trailer. Please help me with this important matter.

RV making us sick

My wife and i purchased a new 39ft Hy-Line park model trailer and had it delivered and set up at Hidden Shores Rv resort in Yuma Arizona on March 15, 2007.As the temperature started to reach into the 90`s we noticed our eyes, nose burning with throat irritation. Now in July it`s 100 to 115 deg it makes it where we can`t even stand to be in our trailer. The manager says it will go away! That's not whatI paid for! I paid for a trailer! Not bad health for my family and friends! William Stills San Diego Ca.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

RV makers LOVE formaldehyde...

Just last week, I spoke with two representatives from Forest River, a manufacturer in Indiana. One representative candidly told me that they actually apply formaldehyde to their paneling after they receive it. It is their belief that it helps to preserve the product.

For some time now, we have searched and searched for a trailer, RV or modular home that is nearly formaldehyde-free and has very minimal VOCs. We actually want to buy a couple units. One for Michigan and one for Gulf Coast of Texas. We're retired seniors and plan to spend our time in the best living comfort offered by either area.

For some time now, for more than one year, I have searched to find safer units that we can buy. Please understand that I'm not being entirely academic with this pursuit. We actually want to buy a couple of units.

The net result after all my searching is that there are NO safe (or safer) units built by ANY manufacturers of travel trailers, mobile homes, RVs or modular homes.

At first, most of the manufacturers blame the carpeting for formaldehyde emissions. However, when pushed, they also will reveal that none of their products are formaldehyde-free, and that includes vinyl, permanent press draperies, carpet, paint, insulation, paneling, cabinets, construction adhesives, subfloor and sheathing OSB. Just about NOTHING in their units, regardless of the manufacturer is formaldehyde-free or contains low-VOCs.

Unfortunately, the alternative solution is NOT to buy a stick-built house. Most of the construction materials contain toxins. And all of those toxic materials are used by the majority of builders, nationwide.

For those people who are interested in safer building materials, and in preserving their own health, we have established a blogsite that features safer alternatives. Nearly every unsafe product in use today can be switched for a safer product. People just need to know, so they can begin requiring those materials when they purchase a housing unit.

The blogsite is http://www.saferbuildinglivingston.blogspot.com/

To bring about a change, consumers need to inform the manufacturers and builders of all types of housing that they are aware that the majority of their components are toxic. Then people need to insist on safer materials. Otherwise, they will refuse to buy.

Manufacturers contend that the formaldehyde-laden materials are more economical and therefore are required to be used, so the manufacturer can remain competitive.

Well, if consumers balk and refuse to purchase, then the manufacturers will be forced to respond as a requirement to stay in business. But as long as immense quantities of toxic-laden units are purchased, such as the infamous FEMA trailers, the manufacturers have no reason to change any of their methods or materials.

Bob Gramer, Michigan

Congressional hearings on formaldehyde in FEMA trailers

Thursday, July 19, 2007
Committee to Hold Hearing Probing Toxic FEMA Trailers
On Thursday, July 19, Chairman Waxman will hold a hearing investigating formaldehyde levels in FEMA trailers provided for victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes and FEMA’s response to these reports. The Committee will hear from current residents occupying FEMA trailers, experts who are familiar with the chemical formaldehyde, the manufacturers of FEMA trailers, and from FEMA itself.
Formaldehyde is a chemical used in paint and adhesives, and is classified as a “known carcinogen” by the International Agency for Research. The high levels of formaldehyde found in these FEMA issued trailers and FEMA’s response raise serious public health concerns. As a result displaced residents continue to live in unhealthy environments.

The following witnesses will testify:

Dr. Scott Needle, Pediatrician, American Academy of Pediatrics
Ms. Mary DeVany, Industrial Hygienist, DeVany Industrial Consultants
Mr. Paul Stewart, Travel Trailer Occupant, December 2005-March 2006
Mrs. Lindsay Huckabee, Mobile Home Occupant, December 2005-Current
Mr. James Harris, Jr., Travel Trailer Occupant, April 2006-Current
Mr. R. David Paulison, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency

Monday, July 16, 2007

formaldehyde death?

After CBS Evening News did an investigative report on the problems with formaldehyde in FEMA trailers, I got a call from Desiree Collins and Earl Shorty of Baton Rouge, La. When Earl called me to request a test kit for their FEMA trailer, his wife Desiree was coughing so badly in the background that it was apparent she was finding it hard to get a breath. Earl said his wife was recovering from treatments for ovarian cancer before Hurricane Katrina. The couple had been living in the trailer for about eight or nine months. They had noticed a “gluey type” smell when they moved into the camper, but didn’t know that could be a problem. About five months after they moved in, Desiree started having trouble breathing. When she came into the trailer she would cough constantly and get short of breath. They went to two doctors and ran different tests, but doctors couldn’t identify the problem. Only recently when CBS Evening News did an investigative story about the problems with formaldehyde in FEMA trailers did Earl and Desiree connect her problems with their FEMA trailers.
I sent Earl a test kit, and his test came back over the limit at 0.12 ppm. Levels were likely much higher when they first received the trailers. Sadly, Desiree passed away July 2. While the cause of death was listed as lung cancer, Desiree was not a smoker. But she had lived for many months in a trailer with toxic levels of formaldehyde. She had an impaired immune system due to her earlier cancer treatments. The last thing she needed was to be placed into a toxic tin can 24-7.
When Earl first called me, I said, “Get out of the FEMA trailer if at all possible.” But they had no where else to go. Other housing just isn’t available. Earl has two sisters, and they are also living in FEMA trailers. The two sisters are also experiencing health problems that are consistent with formaldehyde outgassing.
Earl, having seen his wife suffer and then die from the respiratory problems, worries about continuing to live in this trailer where he saw his wife suffer, struggling to breathe before going into the hospital and passing away. What will be the long term health impacts on Earl? When will the government do something about this horrible problem?


Thursday, July 12, 2007

RV making family sick


Last summer we purchased a 2006 Hornet Travel Trailer (36 foot). We use this trailer primarily as a weekend get-a-way and it is parked on our lot next to a lake in central Wisconsin. This is the 2nd summer we have used our trailer. It was winterized and stored by an RV dealer over the past winter. We continue to experience burning eyes and even coughing when we open up our trailer on the weekends or during extended weekly stays. After doing some research I suspect that the problems we are dealing are from the chemical formaldehyde. We have contacted the dealer that sold us the trailer twice regarding the burning eyes and explained that we need to leave trailer open for at least two hours prior to using it. The dealer denied that formaldehyde was used in the assembly of the trailer and that the burning and smell we are experiencing is perhaps from the glue used in the carpeting. They said that this would eventually "go away."

This is the second season with our trailer and we have not noticed that the irritations we have been experiencing are getting any better. We have invited friends and family to stay with us and they develop the same eye burning sensation and notice a strange odor. We have noticed that even after having the trailer open and in use for 24 hours, if we plan a day trip and close it up again, when we return, we need to start the whole airing-out process over. We open the vents, turn on the air conditioning and open the windows. This does help but does not solve or eliminate the chemical presence that continues to linger in our trailer. I am getting to the point where I am concerned for my families over-all long term health and well being.


Leonita Loomans
225 Ryan Court
West Bend, WI 53095

Thursday, June 28, 2007

formaldehyde can cause eye problems

I just phoned to give formaldehyde test results to a woman in Picayune, Jerrye, who has been having severe eye problems. Her trailer tested at .11 ppm, which is over the limit. The levels were likely much higher earlier as she has been in the trailer now for 15 months. Her test badge was hung in the middle of the camper where formaldehyde levels would be expected to be less. Where she sleeps in a cubicle she is very near lots of wood products such as cabinets and the particle board underneath the platform bed. Testing by EPA showed some VERY high levels of formaldehyde with sensitive test equipment put right up against the wood products.
Jerrye said her eye doctor said a lot of people in FEMA trailers are having similar problems. When she discussed the problems with FEMA, she was told FEMA is no longer swapping out trailers for people who complain about the formaldehyde and is instead offering rental assistance. The problem is, finding rentals units is still very, very difficult.
One interesting observation: Jerrye had an apple on her counter for months that didn’t rot. She considered it very odd, but then thought: It is being preserved by the formaldehyde!


Saturday, June 23, 2007

giving toxic trailers to the Native Americans

FEMA now has a great plan to get rid of all the surplus tin coffins, aka FEMA trailers. The RV industry didn’t want the government putting all these trailers up for sale because it would gut the market. So now the government has decided to give the trailers to Native Americans. Most likely they won’t have heard about all the people who have gotten sick after being housed in these toxic trailers after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Is this the latest incarnation of giving smallpox blankets to the Native Americans?


Friday, June 22, 2007

formaldehyde problems with Cougar?


I was wondering if you have had other complaints about the air quality in Keystone "Cougar Rv's" My husband & I have been complaining about the odor when we have had the camper closed up & getting ready to go somewhere. Our eyes burn so much & we have had trouble breathing. I brought this to the dealers attention & the manager of where we bought the camper 2006.

They say to air out & it will go away. Well we have for almost two yrs aired out & it is still there.

My concern is my family's health. We have a grandaughter who fought for her life, born only 1lb. & is now off oxygen after over 1 year. We would like her to go with us with the family.

What & where is this odor coming from? Can you help me at all. The Mfg. in

Indiana doesn't want to hear about it.




NOTE from Becky: Patty was told to look at the www.abcnews.com story that profiles the problems Marvin Motes has had with his Cougar RV. She was advised against bringing the baby into the camper until after testing for formaldehyde. We know of one infant who died in a FEMA trailer in Bay St. Louis, and the pediatrician suspects formaldehyde poisoning. Several deaths of elderly people in FEMA trailers have also been linked to this problem.

Folks might want to check out the blogs at the ABCnews.com web site for additional stories about people who have experienced this problem. There are some blogs bashing Sierra Club for being "alarmist" about this issue. I don't think it is alarmist to point out when thousands of people are being poisoned by their own government. The most legitimate beef was Sierra Club tarring the whole RV industry with the same brush and not providing a list of safe RVs. While Sierra Club testing of 17 RV brands used for FEMA trailers, at least one of each brand tested over the limit. But there are some higher quality RVs out there that are made with better materials and more care. You can get more information by purchasing a CD from the RV Consumer Group at http://www.rv.org/store_2.htm. It is $78 but that is small change when you consider how much a new RV costs.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

formaldehyde victory re plywood plants

Good news! A federal court has ruled that it is NOT okay for EPA to exempt plywood plants from toxic air pollution limits.

According to a press release from Sierra Club, on June 19 the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dealt a major setback to a long-running campaign by industry lawyers and political appointees at the Environmental Protection Agency to gut the Clean Air Act’s toxics provisions. On behalf of plywood factory owners, EPA had crafted a wholesale exemption that would have allowed approximately two thirds of all plants to avoid controlling emissions of formaldehyde and other toxic pollution.

Natural Resources Defense Council, representing Environmental Integrity Project, and Earthjustice, representing Sierra Club challenged EPA’s rule as unlawful. The Court agreed, and vacated the exemption and other unlawful loopholes. The decision makes clear that plywood plants must start cleaning up their pollution this fall.

Plywood plants as a whole emit more than 18,000 tons of toxic air pollution each year, including formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, phenol and other pollutants that can cause cancer, liver and kidney damage, birth defects and adverse reproductive effects.

“Like an exterminator killing termites, the Court blocked EPA’s destructive attempt to carve out holes in the Clean Air Act’s protections against toxic pollution from plywood factories,” said John Walke, Clean Air Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “When the EPA sides with polluters over the public,
Americans should be grateful that we have the courts to protect us against government wrongdoing and harmful pollution.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Photox for formaldehyde removal


I want to make you aware of our Photox, Photocatalytic Oxidation Air Purification units that have been shown to be effective at destroying formaldehyde. Our Photox units work on basically the same principle as the catalytic converter on the automobile exhaust system and destroy organic vapors through and oxidation process using ultraviolet light and a special catalytic filter. Our units are portable and would be a cost effective solution to this problem. Photox units do not make ozone and in fact will destroy ozone if it is present. More information is available on our web site www.PhotoxPureAir.com

Let me know if I you have any questions or need more information.

Thank you,

Bob Kim
Photox Business Manager

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Imports from China behind high formaldehyde levels?

I am an organic chemist with experience in phenol formaldehyde resins (PF resins) that are used to make wood products and other end uses (see my US patent 6,232,368 for PF resins). I have been following the controversy about high formaldehyde levels in FEMA trailers and suspect that wood products imported from China with higher formaldehyde levels than would be allowed to be produced in the U.S. are the source of the problem.

Each batch of any chemical made in a plant is analyzed for various parameters, i.e. specifications, after it is made. There are records kept, certificates of analysis (COA or Certs) for each batch. For PF resins, a plant should measure %FF for each batch. It is easy to lower the %FF but it costs time and some money. In the past, the %FF in US resins was high, >10%. Now due to the OSHA formaldehyde rules, the %FF
is low, <0.1%.

However, as reported by the L.A. Times, China doesn't have such %FF limits in the wood products it exports to the USA. China doesn't allow high formaldehyde products
to be used in buildings in China, but is happy to export them to the USA.

With the melamine in animal feed problem, ethylene glycol in toothpaste problem and the formaldehyde in wood products problem, when is our government going to wake up and protect us from these hazards from China?

Kenneth B. White, Ph.D.

Friday, June 8, 2007

What FEMA didn't read...

Maybe FEMA should read what the trailer manufacturers say about full-time living in RVs?


Remember, your trailer is not designed, nor intended, for permanent housing. Use of this product for long-term or permanent occupancy may lead to premature deterioration of structure, interior finishes, fabrics, carpeting and drapes. Damage or deterioration due to long-term occupancy may not be considered normal and may, under the terms of the warranty, constitute misuse, abuse or neglect and may therefore reduce the warranty protection.


Inspect the roof at least every 90 days, paying particular attention to the seams where the areas of sheet metal, moldings, rubber and/or fiberglass are joined. Carefully inspect the sealant around any vents, skylights, air conditioners, etc.

Exposure to the elements will cause sealants to deteriorate over time. Variations in climate and weather may accelerate deterioration. Inspection and periodic resealing is essential as preventative maintenance. If cracks or shrinkage is noticed, immediately follow the rubber roof manufacturer’s recommendations for repair or resealing. Special sealants are used due to the composition of the roofing material. For the appropriate sealant, please see your dealer.



Wednesday, May 30, 2007

FEMA trailers amount to "gas chambers"

Check out this letter to the editor!

San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Gaseous FEMA trailers

Just when you thought that the FEMA epidemic could not have gotten any worse, we have new evidence that this organized criminal activity has been and continues to house the Katrina victims in gas chambers of slow death. The trailers provided by FEMA are saturated with formaldehyde. The effects of this chemical warfare against these citizens by FEMA have been well documented and the FEMA inspectors have been warned not to talk about it or there will be consequences.
As with the war in Iraq, this Republican administration will not recognize the reality of how bad things are. They will only point to the 90,000 trailers (gas chambers) that have been provided. It is believed that if President Bush and Laura were allowed the privilege of vacationing in one of those trailers at the taxpayers' expense, things just possibly might change.

Roy Humphreys
Rowland Heights

Thursday, May 24, 2007

possible remedy to remove formaldehyde?

Folks: I have had many people ask what they can do to rid their trailer of formaldehyde. I can't recommend the vendor below but am passing along the info because it is so very frustrating just pointing out a problem without steering people to possible remedies. If anyone tries this and it works, please let me know. We know that houseplants can remove formaldehyde from the indoor air but some tests we have done show they aren't enough to reduce the formaldehyde to safe levels.


Information on ServiceAccess and treatment for formaldehyde.

ServiceAccess may be reached at info@serviceaccess.com or 866-981-8201. We provide a service to rid trailers of formaldehyde through licensed and insured applicators. The service requires access for twenty four hours as the trailer must be vacant with air circulation. We aerate the trailer upon completion of the treatment and test for formaldehyde prior to clearing for occupancy. Cost is dependent on size of trailer. Some absorbant materials must be removed prior to treatment.

problem not just with FEMA trailers

Hi Becky,

I have been watching the news with the formaldehyde issue very closely,and I do not believe the problem exists with Fema trailers only. In fact ,I think the problem is more wide spread then has been told. We purchased a travel trailer (it was made the same time the fema trailers were) and delivered to us in May of 2006.We stayed in it for a couple of days and my daughter had a very bad rash which lasted for 21 days,and I had throat/eyes/sinus problems. She went to the ER,and we went home for a couple of weeks.

After the rash finally went away,we returned to the trailer and the smell was so bad!!! That's when I realized it was the trailer was making us sick. To make a long story short,the trailer company told the place we bought it to send out a environmental person.She misunderstood and in turn sent someone with an ozone machine for three days, which made things worse and ruined our carpet.

We ended up having an industrial hygenist test the air for formaldehyde (the trailer manufacturer suggested this) and it was .50 to .75ppm. I have to assume the trailer company knew about the formaldehyde and that's why they suggested a formaldehyde test.Even the guy who came to inspect the trailer stated it was probably the paneling in the wall.In his report he states he smells formaldehyde!!!!

We still have been experiencing some health problems like getting out of breath and have had sinus problems and fatigue since this summer.Fortunately we were only exposed for about two months?

My heart truely goes out to the people still staying in these toxic trailers,they need to get out!!!!!! No amount of airing out the trailers will get that chemical smell out. Trust me,I tried "airing out" my trailer out in 95 degree weather.
It only made it worse. I tried vinegar, hepa filter, fans, even with cooler weather the smell was still there. I have a tote in my garage of items wrapped in newspaper from the trailer that wreaks just like the trailer and that was 9 months ago. Most of our things are ruined.

They need to wake up and be honest and get these poor people out of those trailers before any more damage occurs to their health!!!!!!!

Here's our problem now. We don't know what doctor to go to to get tests,the doctors around here say they have no experience with formaldehyde,and couldn't really help us, with what tests to get to see if we are okay from the exposure. The trailer manufacturer has suggested a doctor, but I am assuming if we have no problems that are considered bad enough for them right now,they will expect us to sign away our health rights then,and GO AWAY.

I just wonder how many other people have done this already,surely we cannot be the only other people experiencing this problem!!!! The scarriest thing to me is,my daughter's pediatrician stated there are several blood disorders which could take several years to develop. Someone should be held accountable!!! Especially since they list cancer as a potential job injury just for entering new FEMA trailers, not staying in them 24/7.

The trailer manufacturer is basically holding us hostage. They will not give us our money back for the trailer,unless we sign away our health rights and release them from any further/future problems. We believe our health and the defective trailer are two seperate issues. People should not have to sign off on their health to a get defective trailer taken care of !!! We can not sell this trailer because it is UNSAFE. Only unless we sign away our health rights, will they give us our money back for the trailer. So our formaldehyde trailer is sitting empty at our campground with the new season starting without us.We had to pay for the seasonal site since we have the trailer on it.

If we camp at all,we will be forced to get an older travel trailer to use because now, none of us can tolerate even slightest smell of formaldehyde,and also because we cannot afford to purchase a new one because we are still making payments on the one sitting there. I know this is nothing compared to what the people in FEMA trailers are going through but I am so frustrated!!!!!!!!!

Do you by any chance know of any other travel trailers besides FEMA that have had formaldehyde issues? Did the people in Lousiana get new trailers when had formaldehyde problems or are they still in the same trailers that caused their problems? Where they asked to sign away their health rights to receive another travel trailer? If you or anyone you know may be able to help us somehow I'd GREATLY appreciate it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank-you for taking the time to read this very long letter, Sincerely,SUE

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

info on class action lawsuit...

According to Prime Newswire on May 18, Parker Waichman Alonso Mark LLP, Gainsburgh, Benjamin, David, Meunier & Warshauer, L.L.C., Law Offices of Daniel E. Becnel, Jr. and the Law Offices of Ronnie G. Penton of New Orleans have filed a class action lawsuit against the private contractors as well as the federal government on behalf of multiple individuals who sustained serious pulmonary injuries as a result of being exposed to formaldehyde while living in a trailer home provided by FEMA due to having been rendered homeless as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The case was filed in United States District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana (Docket number 07-2961).

Prime Newswire said this suit alleges that persons who spent significant time in the FEMA provided housing units have been exposed to dangerously high concentrations of formaldehyde fumes and sustained serious injuries as a result of this exposure. The law firms said they been contacted by hundreds of people who were provided with trailer homes by FEMA and who are now suffering symptoms consistent with formaldehyde exposure.

If you or a loved one believe you may have been exposed to any toxic chemical while residing in a FEMA house trailer, please contact their office by visiting the Website at www.toxicfematrailer.com or www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/toxic_fema_trailers . Free case evaluations are also available by calling Parker Waichman Alonso Mark LLP at 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636).

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Congress demanding answers

In case anyone would like to take a look, the Oversight Committee sent a letter to FEMA last Tuesday, reiterating prior requests that the Committee made. The letter explained that compulsory process would be implemented if documents were not provided by May 29, 2007. I have included a link below.



Erik C. Jones
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
(202) 225-4407

NOTE: The oversight committee months ago requested information from FEMA about the problem with formadelhdye in FEMA trailers, but FEMA has withheld key data.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

CBS Evening News reveals FEMA knew about problem

CBS Evening News once again had a lead story on formaldehyde in FEMA trailers last night (Friday, May 18). See link on the right for details about how internal documents show FEMA knew more than a year ago that many of the trailers have excessive levels of formaldehyde. FEMA testing showed 20 or 28 trailers exceeded the .1 ppm limit, with a couple being ten times over the limit. The show also has Sen. Mary Landrieu calling for a Congressional investigation and saying, "This takes the cake. Now people living in the trailers have to worry if their children are breathing fumes that could cancer or some other disease."

Thursday, May 17, 2007

CBS Evening News does expose on formaldehyde problem

CBS Evening News had a very hard hitting investigative report on formaldehyde in FEMA trailers last night. (The link to this story is under Toxic Trailer News to the right). The report included information from a whistleblower at the Gulf Stream Coach factory who said his crew worked at a breakneck pace for months, which, he says, forced the company to use cheaper wood products. “Quality suffered dramatically because of the drive and pressure to put these trailers out,” the worker said.

Another important new revelation from the report is that FEMA’s job description for trailer technicians says under the "Physical Hazard" for those entering a new trailer it says, "Formaldehyde off gassing..." The potential injury: Cancer.

CBS said: Why is this important? Because it offers a clarification to anyone wanting to take on the job of inspecting FEMA travel trailers during an 8-hour workday. FEMA has not offered the same clarification to the residents of trailers who have lived in those trailers for the past 21 months. The elderly and young children who are most susceptible to the effects of formaldehyde fumes often stay in the trailers 24/7 trying to escape the heat and humidity of the Gulf.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What is that SMELL?

FEMA Director Paulison discussing accountability of Toxic Trailers.

"Paulison told reporters he was aware some trailers and mobile homes have high levels of formaldehyde gas. But he said it is the responsibility of hurricane victims to rid themselves of the danger."

What is that SMELL?
Word of the day:

The noxious emission released by FEMA officials as they scurry from the light of accountability to justify their follies and self-serving enterprises.


Note: This quote above comes from an article in the Clarion Ledger today. View the article at http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007705160367.

Monday, May 7, 2007

What are they smoking at FEMA?

Good grief--how do you increase ventilation, at the same time keeping indoor temperaturs low, and keeping humidity low without the A/C on, on the MS Gulf Coast in the summertime.

Sounds like useless information to me.

What are they smoking up there at FEMA?


FEMA's tests show VERY HIGH formaldehyde levels

After stalling for six months FEMA has finally released the results of their testing of formaldehyde levels in FEMA trailers. There were even higher levels of formaldehyde in these new, unused trailers than we found in our Sierra Club tests. What is shocking is how high the levels started out! 1.2 ppm is enough to pickle you quick.
EPA and the American Lung Association recommend a limit of .1 ppm. So the average of .3 ppm found in FEMA’s testing is cause for alarm. At that high a level, people have trouble staying in the camper because of burning eyes and throat and chest irritation. We just tested a family whose FEMA trailer came in at that level and they have spent over $700 on medical bills.
FEMA should immediately provide air purification systems to EACH FAMILY still living in these toxic trailers. Ventilation isn’t the answer…

FEMA Study: Ventilating Travel Trailers Can Significantly Reduce Formaldehyde Emission Levels
Release Date: May 4, 2007
Release Number: HQ-07-061

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said today that its study of air samples collected from travel trailers in the Gulf shows that formaldehyde emission levels in the units can be significantly reduced through adequate ventilation.
FEMA initiated the study in response to concerns expressed about formaldehyde in the trailers and because of the high number of the units used as temporary housing following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The objective of the study was to validate the most effective measures for lowering formaldehyde concentrations in travel trailers.

…According to the evaluation report provided to FEMA by ATSDR, the average concentration of formaldehyde per day in the units using open window ventilation dropped below 0.3 ppm after four days of ventilation and remained low for the rest of the test period. Average, per-day levels in the test group of trailers using air conditioning only with one open static vent in the bathroom remained above 0.3 ppm for all but two days of the test period. The level for health concerns for sensitive individuals was referenced by ATSDR at 0.3 ppm and above.

For the entire FEMA press release, go to http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=36010

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Thought of the Day:




TOXIC TRAILER public information that would look great on a TEE.


Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Toxic Trailers on Dan Rather Reports!

There was an excellent Dan Rather Reports special on formaldehyde in FEMA trailers last night.


Here is the viewing schedule:

Date Time Description Wed., May. 2nd 7:00 PM ET Toxic Trailers - Some of the thousands of people along the Gulf Coast still living in travel trailers say formaldehyde used to build the campers is making them sick.
Toxic Trailers Sun., May. 6th 7:00 PM ET Toxic Trailers

A second episode on this subject will air Tue., May. 8th 8:00 PM ET

The show was very hard hitting, and Rather ended it with the questions about FEMA and their lack of response. You can almost smell the corruption through the TV set, a lot like the formaldehyde that is permeating the land.

Also very significant is that we had the first airing of a news program that reveals this isn’t just a problem with FEMA trailers. Go to http://www.wlox.com/, and click on A.J. Giardina reports on formaldehyde found in couple’s RV. This is the story of Marvin Motes who purchased an RV a year ago that tested more than four times over the limit for formaldehyde. He has been unable to get the dealership (which hung up on the reporter) or the manufacturer to do anything about it. The story quotes another RV dealer as saying this is a common problem in the industry and something they are working on.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What brands of trailers are testing high?

I'm writing you from a Public Library's Reference Desk. I thought you might be able to help us out with a question. A patron recently asked us which 13 RV models used by FEMA did the Sierra club test when reporting on potential formaldehyde exposure hazards to FEMA trailer occupants.

Could you give us a quick list of the make and models the Sierra Club tested? We've looked all over without any luck.

Thanks for your time

Response: I'm not sure there were only 13 models purchased by FEMA. I heard 19 from FEMA at one point. I can tell you that we tested 13 different models and all had at least one test that was over the limit. Our testing suggests the problem is widespread in the RV industry. And we have done some more testing recently that shows this is still a bad problem with some tests coming in nearly four times over the limit in campers that have been in use for more than a year. Eight out of nine test results we have in so far are over the limit. The highest test results are coming in campers where the problem is so obvious that people’s eyes burn after being in the camper for a little while. People are also having bad problems with mold.

I would suggest telling your patron that if they are experiencing any of the symptoms of formaldehyde poisoning, call the FEMA maintenance number, 1-866-877-6075, and request a formaldehyde test. I'm not sure about Louisiana, but here in Mississippi they are now testing when people request it. If tests are high FEMA claims it is replacing the housing.

Thanks! Becky

Friday, April 27, 2007

The news on formaldehyde in FEMA trailers just gets worse. Two recent tests we have done have found elevated levels of formaldehyde in the trailers FEMA contractors said were “product sensitive” and supposed to be low in formaldehyde outgassing. And a test was also over the limit for a FEMA mobile home. We thought mobile homes were supposed to be covered by HUD rules limiting formaldehyde. Some other recent tests are coming in three and four times over the limit. People living in these campers are having serious and continuing health problems. Members of the family in the mobile home for over a year have averaged several nose bleeds a week.

Forward from a friend (still living in a FEMA trailer) to provide more information for people who want to know more about formaldehyde poisoning.

You have got to love the name of this site http://www.homelandstupidity.us/2006/08/08/formaldehyde-in-fema-travel-trailers-making-people-sick/

Excerpt from article by Dr. Thad Goddish:

The Nature of the Health Problem
Formaldehyde is a potent eye, upper respiratory and skin irritant. Evidence from several studies also indicates that it causes central nervous system effects, including headaches, fatigue, and depression. It also has the potential for causing asthma and inducing asthmatic attacks as a nonspecific irritant. Additionally, animal studies suggest that formaldehyde is a potential human carcinogen.


Formaldehyde, also known as formalin, formal, and methyl aldehyde, is a colorless liquid or gas with a pungent odor. It is generally known as a disinfectant, germicide, fungicide, defoamer, and preservative. Formaldehyde is found in adhesives, cosmetics, deodorants, detergents, dyes, explosives, fertilizer, fiber board, garden hardware, germicide, fungicide, foam insulation, synthetic lubricants, paints, plastic, rubber, textile, urethane resins, and water softening chemicals.
Inhalation of vapors produces irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat and frequently results in upper respiratory tract irritation, coughing, and bronchitis. Asthma may occur in sensitive individuals. Severe exposure to fumes may lead to chemical pneumonia. Skin reactions after exposure to formaldehyde are very common because the chemical can be both irritating and allergy-causing. In addition, formaldehyde is involved in DNA damage and inhibits its repair.
Formaldehyde is a suspected human carcinogen and has been shown to produce mutations and abnormal organisms in bacterial studies. Formaldehyde fumes are liberated from plywood, particleboard, and chipboard, as well as urea formaldehyde foam insulation. Symptoms associated with exposure to formaldehyde fumes include mucous membrane irritation, upper respiratory tract irritation, eye irritation, skin rashes, itching, nausea, stuffy nose, headaches, dizziness, and general fatigue.
Toxicity is primarily related to the presence of formaldehyde gas. Toxicity may be relatively inconspicuous and nonspecific in nature. Patients suffering from formaldehyde toxicity have been misdiagnosed as having asthma, bronchitis, anxiety, depression, or hypochondria. Severe prolonged vomiting and diarrhea in infants may be related to chronic exposure to formaldehyde fumes. An individual may become sensitized to formaldehyde following repeated exposure to these fumes.
If you have any questions or concerns about formaldehyde levels in your home, contact the office of air pollution control, your local or state Department of Health, or the American Lung Association office nearest you.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

High formaldehyde levels PLUS mold a problem

Yesterday my wife called FEMA to report that a test had shown excessive levels of formaldehyde in our FEMA trailer and to report again about the bathtub leaking. They sounded very irritated that we had a formaldehyde test done by an outside company (we didn't tell them who did the test, only that our pediatrician recommended it). FEMA told us that they would not accept anyone else's test and that we would have to request them to perform a test if we suspect formaldehyde, so we did. Within about an hour a FEMA repair man showed up to look at the leaking tub. The repair man suspected the faucet of causing the leak and wanted to get to the back side of the faucet so he got out his saw and cut a hole in the wall, but when he started cutting the wall crumbled and we found that about two feet of the wall was like that. Once the sheetrock was removed we were able to see that the inside of the wall, studs and insulation were covered in black mold. Also the stud near the floor was rotten, when he stuck his screw driver into the wood the stud crumbled. The repair man got nervous when my wife got her camera and started taking pictures. He said that the mold was not that bad and wouldn't cause any problems so he told my wife she needed to spray it with bleach and that he will be back today to cover it back up. I'm not going to accept that as a solution.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

FEMA employees also at risk

Why is FEMA allowed to exceed the STEL and PEL LIMITS AND EXPOSURE TIMES that are required by workers? SHORT TERM EXPOSURE LIMIT is .2 PP< for 15 minutes. Not only are resident of these units at risk so are FEMA employees.




Note that ACGIH Threshold Limit Value (TLV): .3 ppm ceiling for HCHO 8. Exposure Controls/Personal Protection
Airborne Exposure Limits:
-OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):
0.75 ppm (TWA), 2 ppm (STEL), 0.5 ppm (TWA) action level for formaldehyde 200 ppm (TWA) for methanol -ACGIH Threshold Limit Value (TLV): 0.3 ppm Ceiling formaldehyde, Sensitizer, A2 Suspected Human Carcinogen 200 ppm (TWA) 250 ppm (STEL) skin for methanol

Air pollution: no place like a mobile home - health effects from formaldehyde Science News, Oct 19, 1991 by Karen Schmidt http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_n16_v140/ai_11515777

A mobile home may feel cozy, but its tight construction seals in air pollutants better than most conventional homes. Adding to the problem, the pressed wood products typically used in mobile homes give off noxious formaldehyde gas. Many mobile home residents have complained of "sick building syndrome." Now researchers suggest that even those who don't complain may experience health effects -- and at lower levels of formaldehyde than previously documented. Scientists at California's Indoor Air Quality Program in Berkeley monitored formaldehyde levels for two one-week periods in more than 500 mobile homes and collected health information from more than 1,000 uncomplaining occupants. The study found a strong statistical association linking eye, skin and upper-respiratory irritation with exposures to formaldehyde just below the 0.1 parts per million (ppm) level that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has considered a threshold for irritation. "This is the first study to show irritating effects at such a low level," says Kai-Shen Liu, who led the study.

Kai-Shen Liu

Indoor Air Quality Section - Environmental Health Laboratory Branch California Department of Health Services 2151 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94704 Tel. (510) 540-3161; Fax. (510) 540-3022; E-mail: Kliu@dhs.ca.gov

Has done studies on formaldehyde in mobile homes and TT http://www.cal-iaq.org/CV/CV_liu.htm


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ask FEMA for replacement

Dear Lisa,

I am a Sierra Club volunteer who has overseen the testing of formaldehyde in FEMA trailers. You have a lot of the symptoms expected with formaldehyde poisoning. Our testing has show a high percentage of the trailers do have toxic levels of formaldehyde. Rashes are quite common in the trailers where the gas is so bad it causes your eyes to burn. FEMA claimed in a letter to Congress recently that it had provided replacement housing for 70 families that reported this as a problem. I would recommend you call the service number for FEMA, tell them you have health problems you suspect could be linked to formaldehyde, and request replacement housing. Let me know what they say!