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.

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