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.

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.