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, 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:
http://www.cdc.gov/Features/FEMAtrailers/

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!

Monika

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

Subject: FEMA TRAILER

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
blondepixie51@earthlink.net
EarthLink Revolves Around You.


I HAVE LIVED IN A FEMA HOME SINCE HURRICANE CHARLIE.. FLORIDA

I HAVE HEADACHES DAILY AND HAVE BEEN DIGNOISED WITH CLL LEUKEMIA..

MY TRAILER WAS NOT AIRED OUT BEFORE I MOVED IN NOR WAS I WARNED...

THE SMELL WAS ALMOST UNBEARABLE... WHEN YOU HAVE NO HOME YOU DO WHAT YOU NEED TO TO..

I HAVE HAD HEALTH PROBLEMS SINCE HURRICANE CHARLIE..

THANK-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

MY FAMILY AND I MOVED INTO A TRAVEL TRAILER SHORTLY AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA FOR ABOUT SIX MONTHS WHILE OUR HOUSE WAS BEING BUILT. WE HAVE BEEN OUT OF THE TRAILER FOR TEN MONTHS AND ARE STILL HAVING HEALTH ISSUES. I WAS PREGNANT WHILE LIVING IN THE TRAILER AND MY OB/GYN SAID MY MEMORY LOSS, CONCENTRATION PROBLEMS, FATIGUE, AND MUSCLE AND JOINT PAIN WERE DUE TO STRESS AND MY PREGNANCY. I AM STILL EXPERIENCING THE SAME SYMPTOMS TODAY. I WAS ASSURED BY THE MANUFACTURER AND THE DEALER THAT THE TRAILER WAS SAFE FOR MYSELF AND MY CHILDREN. EVEN AFTER A YEAR AND A HALF THE FUMES IN THE TRAILER ARE UNBEARABLE. KIM

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

I HAVE LIVED IN A FEMA HOME SINCE HURRICANE CHARLIE. FLORIDA
I HAVE HEADACHES DAILY AND HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH CLL LEUKEMIA.
MY TRAILER WAS NOT AIRED OUT BEFORE I MOVED IN NOR WAS I WARNED...
THE SMELL WAS ALMOST UNBEARABLE... WHEN YOU HAVE NO HOME YOU DO WHAT YOU NEED TO TO.
I HAVE HAD HEALTH PROBLEMS SINCE HURRICANE CHARLIE.
THANK-YOU
PAM

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


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.

Becky

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.

Sincerely,

Bob

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?

Becky

Thursday, July 12, 2007

RV making family sick

Hello:

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.

Sincerely,

Leonita Loomans
225 Ryan Court
West Bend, WI 53095
daloomans@charter.net
262-813-9123