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.

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
918-457-6264

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.

Becky

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!!!

ANY IDEAS??

Becky

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
davidmw@tx.rr.com

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
atjinla@yahoo.com

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
228-366-1070

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
228-366-1070

New RV test WAY over the limit...

THANK YOU FOR ALL OF THE INFORMATION YOU PROVIDED US WITH. I ORDERED THE KIT FROM ADVANCED CHEMICAL SENSORS, PLACED IT IN OUR 2008 MAX LITE TRAILER FOR TWENTY FOUR HOURS AND SENT IT BACK. THE RESULTS WERE WELL ABOVE THE RECOMMENDED LEVEL (0.453) INSTEAD OF (0.1)

AT THIS POINT, WE FEEL OUR TRAVEL TRAILER IS NOT SAFE TO USE AND WILL BE REQUESTING FROM THE MANUFACTURER A REFUND. I ALSO FEEL THAT MORE PEOPLE THAT ARE PURCHASING THESE TRAILERS NEED TO KNOW THIS INFORMATION. I HAVE A FEW CONCERNS: FIRST OF ALL, WILL THE MANUFACTURER HONOR OUR REQUEST, SECOND, WILL OUR OTHER TRAVEL TRAILER PURCHASERS BE DISCLOSED THIS INFORMATION?

FRANCINE

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