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, December 18, 2008

MEMA cottages also have formaldehyde problems

Please note the Sun Herald story linked under the toxic trailer news section on the lower right, "Formaldehyde also high in cottages." Then look at the Sun Herald story Dec. 4, "Cottages to undergo testing, MEMA promised but hasn't done it." Just two weeks ago Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) denied doing testing of the cottages, yet it had tested them and found high formaldehyde levels in some of them BEFORE Sierra Club announced in May that its testing had shown formaldehyde could be a problem in some of the cottages. After some of the cottages tested high in tests in April, a consultant recommended improving ventilation and educating residents on how to reduce the formaldehyde levels. MEMA now has a brochure out that includes advice for reducing formaldehyde, but no one I know in the cottages received it.

The federal government gave Mississippi about $281 million to develop this housing that was supposed to be a better alternative to FEMA trailers. Think we got our money's worth?

Becky

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

mobile home cause of lung problems?

Reading up on the trailer testing for formaldehyde, my aunt has lived in a mobile home for many years and has terrible lung problems ..and gets rushed to hospital on a regular basis. Is there anyone or any way to get testing done on their home? I would hate to see that be what caused her all these problems but I tend to think now that it has. Please email me back if possible.

Joe

Dear Joe: The problems with formaldehyde have existed for years, and while they may have been worse in FEMA mobile homes and travel trailers due to rushed construction, there are no regulations in the U.S. for indoor air levels of formaldehyde. OFten people in mobile homes and travel trailers got sick without knowing why. Send me your address and I will mail you a free test kit or you can order one yourself. Kits to test trailers for formaldehyde can be purchased from Advanced Chemical Sensors, 561-338-3116. Cost: $39/kit (www.acsbadge.com).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

mobile home cause of lung problems?

My aunt has lived in a mobile home for many years and has terrible lung problems ..and gets rushed to hospital on a regular basis. Is there anyone or any way to get testing done on their home? I would hate to see that be what caused her all these problems but I tend to think now that it has.
Please email me back if possible.

Thanks.

Joe

Thursday, December 4, 2008

MEMA cottages to be tested for formaldehyde

In May Sierra Club released test results showing levels of formaldehyde are a problem in some of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Cottages that were developed as an alternative to FEMA trailers used for housing after natural disasters. At that time MEMA said they would test for formaldehyde soon. But a Sun Herald article published today (see article under news links on the lower right) says MEMA hasn't yet done testing, but plans to begin soon testing. However, they are only testing unoccupied units, and they are testing in the winter when low humidity and temperatures will produce the lowest possible formaldehyde readings. They are also testing some units that have had systems added to improve ventilation.

There are 2,800 families in MEMA Cottages, some of which were built by Forest River, identified by the CDC as one of the manufacturers of FEMA housing with the highest formaldehyde levels. Testing unoccupied, likely unheated units in the winter will give no idea what formaldehyde levels are in the cottages in the summer with people living in them. Formaldehyde outgassing increases dramatically with heat and humidity.

FEMA tested unoccupied FEMA mobile homes before sending them to victims of Iowa flooding earlier this year, and said the mobile homes were below .04 ppm. But later when the mobile homes were occupied, many tested over .1 ppm. Some residents reported the same illnesses (burning eyes, sinus problems, rashes, headaches, etc.) as experienced by the Katrina\Rita FEMA trailer occupants.

The government spent nearly $300 million on MEMA cottages. Right now cities across the Mississippi Gulf Coast are considering proposals to allow the MEMA Cottages as permanent housing. Testing needs to be done of occupied units, and remediation (such as the better ventilation systems) added if the testing confirms high formaldehyde levels.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Children's health study shows Katrina kids sickest in U.S.

FEMA spends billions, FEMA cronies net huge profits while the disaster survivor's children are gassed and become anemic.

http://www.kansascity.com:80/news/nation/story/907563.html

http://www.nick.com/all_nick/tv_supersites/nick_news/stories_daily.jhtml?pollId=470422268&wstory=0

"FEMA knew these people were suffering and they did nothing" Jesse Fineran; Katrina survivor and Hurricane FEMA Victim....


(See links under toxic trailers new on lower right to see more stories on the Katrina FEMA children's health study)

Friday, November 14, 2008

BBC does great story on formaldehyde!

The British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) radio has done a very long and excellent piece on the formaldehyde in FEMA trailers issue. Reporter Robert Walker interviewed most of the key players in this campaign to get the government to acknowledge the problem with formaldehyde in the temporary housing units. Good interviews with Paul Stewart, who was the first to blow the whistle on formaldehyde; FEMA whistleblower Jesse Fineran; Lindsay Huckabee, who saw her five children suffer from the effects of the formaldehyde; Dr. Lou Finkle, talking about the challenges to rebuilding; James Crowell with Biloxi NAACP, discussing how many people still have no alternative place to live because rents have doubled on the Coast; and Rep. Bennie Thompson, speaking about how this issues shows how the government does not value the working poor and minority populations most affected by the disaster.

To listen, go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/programmes/assignment.shtml. Or you can click on the link on the lower right of the page under Toxic Trailer News.

Monday, November 3, 2008

GSA selling toxic trailers again...

I am concerned that GSA is resuming the sale of the FEMA trailers high in formaldehyde. GSA says the trailers are not meant to be used for housing, but are there any provisions to prevent dealers or people from purchasing these and re-selling them to unknowing members of the public? I have received calls and e-mails from people all over the country who purchased FEMA trailers from dealers before and then had health problems from the formaldehyde. These folks aren’t able to resell their trailers or get their money back like people who bought their FEAM trailers directly from the government.

What doesn’t GSA just sell these trailers for scrap rather than risking that more people will be exposed to these high levels of formaldehyde?

Becky

Friday, October 24, 2008

Iowa FEMA trailers making people sick

KGAN television in Cedar Rapids Iowa has done some great investigative reporting testing 20 FEMA housing units (park models and mobile homes) and reporting on people who have been getting sick. How sad that yet another time disaster victims have placed in unsafe housing and then FEMA has denied the problem and blamed it on the people int he trailers. (See the link to the AP article under the news section on the left of this page.)

Check out this website for more info:

http://www.kgan.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/kgan_vid_1512.shtml


It's not just Linn County with formaldehyde fears.
We've been getting plenty of emails from concerned flood victims in other parts of Eastern Iowa.
CBS 2’s Robert Price has more.

"Just barely breathing...not moving around enough air to even be able to talk...the panic that goes along with it."

This is how Paul Schiel describes his failing health...
Coughing, trouble breathing, migraines...
All problems he and his wife Kathy never had before moving into a FEMA trailer.

"I never had sore throat, itchy eyes before...never My wife gets terrible migraines so bad she can't sleep. I want outta here is what I want," said Schiel.

Paul has emphysema....his wife has had cancer twice...they're not in great health...but they can feel it getting worse.

"I've had breathing problems occasionally...but not this severe. I probably should have been in the hospital."

Paul has been on oxygen for six years now, but for the most part he says his breathing has been under control...that is, until he moved into his FEMA trailer. His health is so poor now that for a while he couldn't even walk ten feet from his couch to the bathroom.

"Just sitting right here for about a week not being able to move, not being able to talk because the breathing was so bad...I think it was formaldehyde."

Paul and his wife haven't called FEMA yet...and while they want to see something done, they have mixed feelings.

"I'd like to see them retest, but I don't know what good it'd do...where are they going to put ya?
I wouldn't want to move again."

Friday, October 17, 2008

TX officials want toxic trailers for Hurricane Ike victims

Some elected leaders in Texas want FEMA trailer trailers even if they are high in formaldehyde. See link to an article about this under the news links on the lower right of this page.
The story says: Some local elected officials are downright furious with FEMA because FEMA will not put travel trailers on the property of homeowners who can’t live in their houses because of damage from Hurricane Ike.
The inability to get temporary housing back into cities in Orange County has caused great hardships for the families and headaches for local employers and city officials who are worried that their workforce will never return home from cities where they have relocated. The longer people are forced to stay away, the less likely they are to return.
…FEMA’s failure to plan for and provide full size FEMA trailers, which are far safer than the formaldehyde-laced travel trailers, is inexcusable. Local and state officials are betting that toxic trailers can be safely used as a short term solution while FEMA acquires and sets up safer trailers.
History has shown betting on quick FEMA action is not a safe bet when the health of families is concerned.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

toxic plywood gives off formaldehyde

Hello,

I had been collecting scrap pieces of plywood discarded at various places and keeping them in my room to paint pictures upon. Then about 2 weeks ago I came across a warning about formaldehyde in plywood, in a PBS program on the subject of Green Building. So I got rid of the plywood I had been collecting. This morning I realized the itching in my eyes had subsided and decided to do more research on the web and found the videos about blue babies and dead pets.

The issue goes beyond trailers because plywood and particle board are used universally in home construction, for underflooring, kitchen cabinets and so on. So it's crucial to get the word out and start promoting the manufacture of formaldehyde-free plywood and particle board.

Ray, St. Louis M, hrpch@hotmail.com

Monday, October 6, 2008

House Committee finds CDC failed to protect public health

The House Committee on Science and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight released an important report today. The sub committee here is continuing to try to place blame where it is deserved, and protect the ATSDR whistleblower Dr. Chris DeRosa. It is important to note how many meetings ATSDR had on the formaldehyde issue from Jan. 2007 to July 2007 and then did nothing about it--with the result that tens of thousands of America families continued to be exposed to high levels of formaldehyde.

October 6, 2008
Subcommittee Report Finds CDC Has Failed to Protect the Public Health

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the House Committee on Science and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight released a staff report that details the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR) handling of its response to high levels of formaldehyde in travel trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Based upon Subcommittee staff interviews with agency officials and ATSDR’s own internal documentation, the majority report offers a comprehensive account of ATSDR’s mishandling of this public health crisis.

The report finds that: “The agency’s incomplete and inadequate handling of their public health assessment, the failure to quickly and effectively correct their scientific mistakes and their reluctance to take appropriate corrective actions was all marked by notable inattention and inaction on the part of ATSDR’s senior leadership. As a result, tens of thousands of Hurricane Katrina and Rita families living in trailers with elevated levels of formaldehyde were kept in harm’s way for at least one year longer than necessary.”

...Howard Frumkin, the Director of ATSDR, said he did not really focus on the formaldehyde issue until July 2007, when a congressional hearing drew his attention to it. Yet, documentation provided to the Subcommittee after the Subcommittee’s April 1st hearing reveals that Dr. Frumkin had at least 13 separate meetings on the formaldehyde issue between January 2007 and July 2007.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

FEMA not immune!!

Chock one up for the good guys! The AP reported Oct. 4 that a federal judge has ruled FEMA is not immune from lawsuits claiming many Gulf Coast hurricane victims were exposed to potentially dangerous fumes while living in trailers it provided.
U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt cited evidence that the FEMA delayed investigating complaints about formaldehyde levels in its trailers because it might be held legally responsible. The preservative can cause breathing problems and is classified as a carcinogen.
"Engelhardt said FEMA learned of the formaldehyde concerns around March 2006, several months after Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005, but responded by "sticking their heads in the sand" rather than ordering air-quality tests," the AP article said.
Click under news links for the entire story.

The next really big development in this case is going to be whether or not the 30,000 people who have sued FEMA and trailer manufacturers can be considered a class action. FEMA and the manufacturers oppose that, and want each case to be heard separately. Trying to kill class action lawsuits is a strategy of industries to avoid responsibility when they poison people.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Congress softens FEMA trailer legislation

Bad news on the trailer front. In July the House passed HR 2638 with strong language in the FEMA appropriations bill that forced a careful analysis of the toxic trailer situation and formal recommendations. From what I can tell, this week the Senate modified the language to soften it as follows:

That the Inspector General shall investigate decisions made regarding, and the policy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency relating to, formaldehyde in trailers in the Gulf Coast region, the process used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for collecting, reporting, and responding to health and safety concerns of occupants of housing supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (including such housing supplied through a third party), and whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency adequately addressed public health and safety issues of households to which the Federal Emergency Management Agency provides disaster housing (including whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency adequately notified recipients of such housing, as appropriate, of potential health and safety concerns and whether the institutional culture of the Federal Emergency Management Agency properly prioritizes health and safety concerns of recipients of assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency), and submit a report to Congress relating to that investigation, including any recommendations.

No deadlines. No collaboration. But it is still helpful.

The Senate passed the bill on Saturday. It is on the way to the White House.

Tom Neltner

Tom

Friday, September 26, 2008

Formaldehyde has caused permanent damage to children

Here is a response on the Jennifer Donelson YouTube video linked on the right of this page:

The sad part is that I don't see the government doing anything to make things better. Chairman Waxman is talking about it but I don't see anything being done. Your son is beautiful. The saddest part of this video was the coughing in the background. It sounded to me like permanent damage has been done to more than one of your children. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

FEMA could buy safe trailers

All FEMA has to do is order to provide trailers to victims of Hurricane Ike is order trailers with Marine Grade Sealed Plywood, demand linoleum instead of carpet, and insist on adhesives without urea-formaldehyde resins and they would have safe trailers. All it takes is conscious manufacturing processes.

Paul Stewart

no trailers for Hurricane Ike victims

It is another sad fallout of the formaldehyde-in-FEMA-trailers debacle that it means there is now evidently little in the way of emergency housing for those who lost their homes in Hurricane Ike. An AP story today said: “Texas officials told Congress Tuesday they want all available FEMA trailers that do not have dangerous levels of formaldehyde. After the hearing, however, FEMA's deputy administrator, Harvey Johnson, said FEMA would provide some temporary housing for Texas but no trailers.”

It is good they aren't putting more disaster victims in toxic trailers, but out of the tens of thousands of trailers being stored—representing more than $2 billion spent by the taxpayers—it is an outrage than none of this housing is safe for people to live in.
Unfortunately, while FEMA is acting to protecting disaster victims, there are no protections for Americans who purchase RVs, mobile homes and other housing with equally high levels of formaldehyde. There are still no nationwide standards for formaldehyde. We continue to especially high formaldehyde levels in new Keystones travel trailers testing over .3 ppm. We are also getting high tests from some mobile homes and modular homes.

Becky Gillette

Friday, September 19, 2008

mosquito pesticides next assault on hurricane survivors?

FEMA has tasked USAF for mosquito control missions over south Louisiana. Within the targeted areas, there remain hundreds of thousands of Katrina/Rita survivors who became victims to the toxic exposure in FEMA trailers. What heath effects can be expected to these victims who continue to suffer from the ill effects of formaldehyde and will now likely be exposed to Dibrom/Naled?

I find the idea of FEMA using DOD aircraft to spray a toxin nerve agent (DIBROM/NALED) over disaster survivors, who were exposed to formaldehyde in FEMA trailers, alarming.

Will Dibrom/Naled MSDS be provided to FEMA victims who have acquired respiratory complications? Did CDC approve of this mission?

AP Times Picayune story about spraying Dibrom
http://www.nola.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/news-42/1221815968257760.xml&storylist=hurricane

Dibrom/Naled
http://www.wtv-zone.com/infchoice/naled.html

JESSE JOHN FINERAN

failure to address earlier concerns with formaldehyde

I had a call from a man who used to work for the National Institute for Enviornmental Health in N.C. About ten years ago their new office building was so high in formaldehyde and other pollutants that people were getting very sick. So guess what they did? They moved people from those offices into trailers where the formaldehyde levels were even higher, and people got even sicker. Some died.

That was a decade ago but shows how the government failure to take note of this problem set the stage for the tragedy ten years later with 100,000 families being housed in trailers high in formaldehyde following Katrina and Rita.

And guess what? We still have no government standards to prevent this from happening yet again and again.

Becky Gillette

Thursday, September 11, 2008

FEMA takes flooded trailers without providing replacement

GUSTAV solves FEMAs housing problems; Cheroff uses this opportunity to make more femaldehyde victims homeless.
JJF


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kathleen Johnson
Date: Tue, Sep 9, 2008 at 7:53 PM
Subject: The growing homeless inHancock County in the aftermath of Gustav.....
To: KatrinaVolunteersHancockCounty@yahoogroups.com


Tuesday September 9th 2008

There is no end of my understanding of man's inhumanity to man. Today a young family showed up here with 9 month old baby in tow - homeless. And why you ask - because FEMA towed off their FEMA trailer as it had been flooded due to Gustav. Now I understand the need to tow off the flooded trailers - but without finding a placement for housing for
these clients? Without figuring out if there was even a shelter for these clients? Without their Case Manager sitting down with them and, at the very least, giving them a flyer of where the available emergency housing might be? Come on - we have to be able to do a better job than this.

If it was the only homeless family left on the curb after FEMA towedthe trailer - yes I would understand. But we are seeing multiple families - young and old. And when I start to call around - I hear the same story over and over again. Yes there is a shelter at Langiappe but it is there for a "few days" with no promises. The men in one trailer, the woman and children in another - fractionalizing the family a a very stressful time.

So, will someone please tell me what we are to do with these families? Nothing has crossed my email box, not a message on my phone, not nothing. Stone cold silence.

Kathleen Johnson
Waveland, Ms.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

formaldehyde in children's furniture

This past June I set out to purchase new bedroom furniture for my daughters, ages 3 and 5. I had heard a little about the dangers of formaldehyde, so I made up my mind to NOT purchase furniture with particle board or MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) in it.

I went to some lengths to research furniture options--checking the websites of manufacturers such as Pottery Barn Kids and Land of Nod. I dismissed these retailers as options because they clearly listed particle board as part of the furniture construction.

I researched other children's furniture manufacturers, and found a manufacturer from Canada called AP Industries - whose website claims they are a "manufacturer of high quality bedroom furniture made of birch, for baby to adult." I liked the look of the product and was happy it was made from birch (no mention of particle board or MDF anywhere on their website:
www.apindustries.com).

I went to a high-end children's furniture store in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

- I told the salesperson who greeted me that I wanted all wood furniture.
- I expressed to her my concerns about particle board/MDF.
- She gave me information that said the AP Industries set was "solid wood and solid veneers."
- I told her I didn't want veneers because of my concerns about particle board.
- She explained to me that veneer was real wood, it was just "shaved very thin."
- What she neglected to reveal to me was that veneer was real wood that covered PARTICLE BOARD.
- From an in-store review, I could not see particle board as part of the construction of the model furniture. (I did not crawl on my hands and knees to look under it - or lift up the mattresses to peer at the supports.)
- I spent almost $4,000 on what I was told was high-end solid wood furniture.
- After the order was built and delivered to my home, I could clearly see-and smell-the particle board in the bed supports and when I took out the dresser drawers, etc.
- I called the store manager and told him that the info they provided to me said that the furniture was "solid wood and solid wood veneers."He said, yes - solid wood and solide wood veneers "over particle board."
- I told him that this was misleading and he agreed.
- I asked him to research whether formaldehyde was used in the glue in the particle board.
- He called the manufacturer and was told that parts of the furniture used"low end particle board" and parts "higher-end particle board." That is all the informatiion that the manufacturer had in regard to the materials used in their "high quality furniture."
- The contract I signed stipulated no returns on special orders.
- They refuse to do anything further for me.

I went online and conducted some searches on formaldehyde and testing - and came across information about the FEMA trailers. I purchased a formaldehyde test kit from Advanced Chemical Sensors, Inc. in Boca Raton. After we had had the furniture in place for one week - including "airing it out with the window open" as the store manager suggested - our formaldehyde test came back from ACS with a .078 ppm score. I learned through further research online, that this is on par with the average for the FEMA trailers (.077 ppm), testing as conducted by FEMA and the CDC.

It sickens me that I purposely set out to buy furniture without particle board, that the manufacturer has less-than-truthful claims and information on their website and in their product literature, that the store willfully misled me to capitalize on a sales situation (commission, etc.), and that now I have these extraordinary levels of toxins in a room where my daughters are supposed to sleep for the next 15 years. And I spent $4,000 on it all.

I would like to think that I am a fairly bright person and an astute consumer. I tried my best to research this purchase and ask the right questions at the store. I don't know what more I could have done. Aren't there laws against consumer fraud, or mis-representation of products? (Such as: http://www.ftc.gov/os/2002/03/16cfr250.htm)

I am at a loss as to what exactly to do next. If there is any advice or suggestion that you might make for me in regard to my personal situation with the toxic furniture, I would be greatly appreciative.

Thank you,
Renee Triemstra
Troy, Michigan
rtriemstra@yahoo.com

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

trailer salesman getting very sick

I just started a new job working for a RV center as a salesman. Although I have worked in sales for many years, I am new to this business. Having just completed my first week. I'm very worried about the fumes and orders inside the trailers and RVs. I'm really troubled by my burning eyes and throat. I am pretty certain it is caused by the strong nasty odors trapped inside the trailers. They come from the manufacture and are left locked up tight as a drum at all times except when we go in to show them. Therefore they are really hot and humid inside and the air inside them really smells nasty.

I have just completed my first week of training. I spend lots of time going inside new travel trailers studying the features so I can present them for sale to customers. There are many different features and sizes and floor plans, but they all have one thing in common. They have a very strong odor that is hard to take! Every day I go in them and every night when I get home I really notice I am having more and more problems with burning eyes and throat. Last night I woke up short of breath and sweating... I have never had any problems like this at work before. I am a healthy man. I don't smoke but I am concerned that I could have damaged my health already. I would like to keep this job if at all possible. The people are nice and there is potential to make a good living here.

Being located on the gulf coast, it is very hot and humid here. It often rains here so the company will not allow the windows or doors to be left opened on any of the trailers. It is so hot inside them that I can only stay inside for a few minutes (5-10) at a time. I feel faint and am wringing wet by the time I come out.

I am very concerned. I need this job so much but am worried about my health. I have just read one of the articles here that stated that heat and humidity amplify the affect of the exposure to these toxic fumes.

I am writing this at 4:30 in the morning because I woke up in a sweat and have a sore throat and burning eyes and shortness of breath. Will I become tolerant of these fumes or am I putting my life at risk working in this position? Who can advise me? Is there anything I can do besides quit? I like my job but I don't know if I am putting myself and others at risk by doing it. Please advise!

Thanks,

B.J.


Dear B.J.: You are having the clear symptoms of formaldehyde poisoning. I can tell you that this problem has not been "fixed" even though the levels of formaldehyde were considered high enough earlier this year for FEMA to move everyone out of FEMA housing (although thousands of families decided to stay in the only home they have). The government has still failed to adopt any formaldehyde standards to protect people.

Trailer manufacturers testified in Congress they have been using the same materials and manufacturing processes for years. They evidently don't see the need to change anything.

We've been testing new travel trailers, and at least with the ones we are getting complaints about and testing, they have VERY HIGH formaldehyde levels. Some are testing at over .4 ppm or 400 parts per billion.

You are getting especially high levels because you are going into new trailers without air conditioning. The formaldehyde levels could be off the chart--above what OSHA would recommend even for short term exposure.

I know it is a tough decision, but if I were you, I would try to find a job that doesn't make you sick now and raise your risk of cancer long term. Insomnia is one of the symptoms of formaldehyde poisoning. And you have to recognize that you are selling a toxic product to people. That can't make you sleep well at night, either.

Becky Gillette
Formaldehyde Campaign Director
Sierra Club
479-253-6963

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

formaldehyde levels not high at Capitol

At a recent Congressional hearing on formaldehyde Rep. Mark Souder, R.-Indiana, claimed testing had shown there were formaldehyde levels in the hearing room and elsewhere in the Capitol as high as the average found in FEMA trailers. It turns out that had as much validity a Rep. Souder claiming high formaldehyde levels in FEMA trailers were caused by dead bodies floating in the water.

From http://thehill.com:80/leading-the-news/formaldehyde-levels-on-capitol-hill-lower-than-feared-2008-08-24.html

Formaldehyde levels on Capitol Hill lower than feared
By Jordy Yager
Posted: 08/24/08 11:46 AM [ET]
Formaldehyde levels in Capitol Hill office buildings are not as high as suspected and are in compliance with federal regulations, according to a recent series of tests done by the Architect of the Capitol (AOC)..

...The lawmaker became worried when a Republican staff member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee found unusually high formaldehyde levels in several House office buildings. The committee was preparing for a hearing on the high levels of formaldehyde found in the trailers FEMA provided to victims of Hurricane Katrina several years ago.

The AOC analyzed 67 samples gathered from throughout the U.S. Capitol complex, including House and Senate office buildings, the Capitol Visitors Center, the U.S. Capitol Police headquarters, dormitories, and day care facilities. ...The GOP staffer’s initial findings noted levels as high as 80 parts per billion in the Rayburn House Office Building. But the AOC’s results were all less than five parts per billion.

Monday, August 11, 2008

family in double wide has many illnesses

On Fri, Jul 4, 2008 at 6:32 PM, shannon turner wrote:
Hi. I am looking for anyone who can relate to my story. After purchasing a double wide mobile home in 2005 my family started having many unexplained medical problems. First and foremost I started noticing my 3 year old daughter was staying sick with upper respiratory infections leading to pneumonia and even hospitalization.This continued on for a year until a doctor was so concerned with her chronic illness that she was tested for autoimmune disorders. You can only imagine my struggle with my little 3 year old all the sleepless nights praying and wondering what could be wrong with this little angel. In the mean time my son was 8 and he began having severe noose bleeds and sinus infections . So i am now asking myself what is going on? Within this time frame I also started having problems with shortness of breath and upper respiratory infections. I went to the doctor and now I was diagnosed with asthma. I had never had asthma or problems with shortness of breath but now the three of us are dealing with these unexplained illnesses. I questioned the doctors but no one wants to pinpoint our problems to formaldehyde. I am trying to find anyone who can help us.

NOTE: This family's trailer tested in AUgust 2008 at .101 ppm, which is over the EPA limit for even short term exposure. Clearly privately purchased mobile homes can also have high formaldehyde levels. Unfortunately, the government has not yet acted to adopt enforcement, adequate formaldehyde regulations to protect American families.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

RV tests at .312 ppm

Right after hurricane Katrina My family purchased an RV for recreational purposes. While on camping trips my nieces have been complaining about burning eyes and not feeling well. I think our trailer has the same problems as the FEMA trailers. As a consumer what options do we have to rectify the problem?

Note: This trailer tested very high at .312 ppm or more than three times over the maximum level people should be exposed to. Consumers have few options because trailer manufacturers have refused to take back faulty products or fix the problem. Absent government regulations on formaldehyde, the trailer manufacturers continue to poison people by selling them trailers high in formaldehyde.

entire family sick in doublewide mobile home

On Fri, Jul 4, 2008 at 6:32 PM, shannon turner wrote:
Hi. I am looking for anyone who can relate to my story. After purchasing a double wide mobile home in 2005 my family started having many unexplained medical problems. First and foremost I started noticing my 3 year old daughter was staying sick with upper respiratory infections leading to pneumonia and even hospitalization.This continued on for a year until a doctor was so concerned with her chronic illness that she was tested for autoimmune disorders. You can only imagine my struggle with my little 3 year old all the sleepless nights praying and wondering what could be wrong with this little angel. In the mean time my son was 8 and he began having severe nose bleeds and sinus infections. So I am now asking myself what is going on? Within this time frame I also started having problems with shortness of breath and upper respiratory infections. I went to the doctor and now I was diagnosed with asthma. I had never had asthma or problems with shortness of breath, but now the three of us are dealing with these unexplained illnesses. I questioned the doctors but no one wants to pinpoint our problems to formaldehyde I am trying to find anyone who can help us.

Shannon Turner

children frequently hospitalized after living in FEMA trailer

We received a FEMA trailer shortly after the storm. During the 6 months that I lived there with them I took my then 2 year old to the hospital 4 times and my daughter 2 times. They stayed sick with sinus like symptoms and stomach problems and went to the doctor every other week. My husband and I separated and I Moved out but the kids stayed with him a couple nights a week in the trailer. A couple of months later my daughter got sick at the trailer and said she was so dizzy she could not get out of bed. Then my son had to be rushed to the emergency room and almost died from an asthma attack. I feel certain the trailer contributed to all these illnesses. I made sure my children never went back in the trailer after that and they have both been doing fine but they have to take daily medication for sinus and have to do occasional breathing treatments for the asthma. Thank goodness the FEMA issue surfaced because my children would probably still be stuck in that trailer.

Jess

Friday, August 1, 2008

FEMA offering cash to agree not to sue?

This week I received a call from a FEMA formaldehyde victim who stated FEMA may had have begun offering”Hush Money CA$H" to their tenants to whom they leased toxic trailers; CA$H in exchange for signing a Hold Harmless contract with FEMA. Any even the CDC, in the fine print, states that low long term exposure to the poison formaldehyde can cause further health problems. In 1, 5 or 10 years the occupants get sick from the toxic exposure; they will be out of legal luck. If you have been or know of anyone who has been made such an offer, please contact us. It is suggested that if you get the offer, you find a qualified attorney to protect your future interest.

Cheers

JESSE JOHN

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Gulfstream tests at .420 ppm

I purchased a 2007 Gulfstream trailer in May 2007. After several weeks, I started to feel like I had a sinus infection, got a rash on my back, and had an uncontrollable cough. My doctor originally prescribed an antibiotic but it didn't touch it. A subsequent visit and blood test revealed I had acute myeloid leukemia with lung lesions that I attribute to formaldehyde exposure. The trailer this June (about one year later) tested out at .420 ppm. I've been through five rounds of chemoterapy and I'm somewhat better but I am wondering if any other people have been similarly diagnosed. If the FEMA issue hadn't surfaced, I wouldn't have known what hit me and probably would still now be endangering my family.

Steve T

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mickey Kizziah has passed away

Please say a special prayer for Mickey Kizziah, Gulfport, who even while seriously sick with pancreatic cancer was willing to speak out to the media about high formaldehyde levels in FEMA trailers. Mickey passed away recently in the same stinking FEMA trailer high in formaldehyde that made him so sick and weak. Mickey's trailer tested .16 ppm in the summer of 2007. He was unable to get other housing even while dying. Rental rates are high and he didn't have a deposit, first and last month rent, and couldn't afford the monthly rates, either. His friend Roy who came to live with MIckey to help with his pain medication was also sickened by the formaldehyde.
Recently in the Oversight Committee hearings, some congressmen said the trailer manufacturers did no wrong because there were no formaldehyde standards in place. However, the trailer manufacturers have ignored this problem for many years, they have opposed formaldehyde standards, and in fact their defense at this hearing was they have been making housing just like this for many years. Gulf Stream tested their trailers being sent to house Katrina victims, and 100 percent were over the .1 ppm limit.
Pancreatic cancer is very painful, and MIckey suffered greatly. I've recently tested two trailers of another family in Moss Point where two family members have died of cancer and another is currently fighting cancer. Their two trailers are still testing very high at .205 ppm and .185 ppm. Another family that lost a father to brain cancer has also tested very high. And I'm currently getting test results from privately purchased RVs that are even higher! Some are testing over .4 ppm!!!
Don't tell me that the trailer manufacturers aren't responsible. As for the Congressmen who are defending them, they should be ashamed. If they want to preserve jobs in Indiana, then they need to clean up this industry so it stops killing people.

Becky Gillette

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

treating illnesses caused by formaldehyde poisoning

Many people who have been exposed to formaldehyde are having trouble finding physicians who know what kind of treatment to provide. I know some folks who are traveling long distances out of state to try to find good medical care. Dr. Albert Robbins, Deerfield Beach, FL (954) 421-1929, did a Master of Public Health thesis on formaldehyde before medical school. He says most people exposed to high levels of formaldehyde become chemically sensitive. They have adverse, allergic type reactions to many common chemicals like pesticides, paints, perfumes, etc. Extreme fatigue is common. Many people exposed to formaldehyde may be helped by being treated for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Dr. Robbins has a lot of good information about MCS at his website at www.allergycenter.com. His e-mail is albertrobbins@aol.com. People might ask their physicians in their home state to look at the treatment options Robbins discusses under the MCS portion of his website.
More information about MCS is also available at www.chemicalsensitivityfoundation.org and www.alisonjohnsonmcs.com. The book Chemical Exposure: Low Levels and High Stakes can be purchased at http://www.amazon.com/Chemical-Exposures-Levels-High-Stakes/dp/0471292400.

Becky

Monday, July 21, 2008

FEMA headed in right direction

I was pleasantly surprised at a FEMA briefing today on its new on National Disaster Housing Strategy Plan that it does seem that FEMA has learned some important lessons from Katrina and Rita. The importance of coordinating with state and local government agencies, and non profits, is really critical because they have the on-the-ground knowledge. Also, they acknowledge how different households can be, and how much their needs may differ. And it is a good idea to exhaust all other housing options before putting people in trailers and mobile homes and travel trailers. (But please, not cruise ships! That was really expensive and few people wanted that option).
The thing that is the greatest victory is that by FEMA requiring very low formaldehyde levels in both mobile homes and park models they purchase, plus any alternative prototype housing developed, FEMA could drive the housing market in the whole country to healthier building materials. Manufacturers will no longer be able to say that it isn’t possible to build manufactured housing that is low in formaldehyde. That could be an important benefit not just for disaster victims but for the millions of other Americans who live in manufactured housing.

Keystone hasn't fixed the problem

In the recent U.S. House Oversight Hearing, Rep. Issa from California said to the four trailer manufacturers that he was sure if a consumer had indicated their product was defective, the trailers manufacturers would fix the problem. The manufacturers agreed by nodding. However, THE FORMALDEHYDE PROBLEM HAS NOT BEEN FIXED! Some trailer manufacturers apparently are still selling trailers high formaldehyde to the public. I don't know of a single person who has written into this site with a travel trailer they have that is high in formaldehyde who has either been able to get their money back or the problem resolved. People are spending tens of thousands of dollars to get trailers that are making them sick. Trailers as old as 2002 and as new as 2008 are testing over .1 ppm.

This is from a family that recently purchased a Keystone travel trailer that recently tested at 0.23 ppm (230 ppb):

My husband and I have been living in a 2008 30' Keystone travel trailer since July 7, 2007. Initially, because of the weather, we were able to keep the windows open most of the time, and we took showers in another facility. Nonetheless, I was getting headaches and was more lethargic than usual. I attributed these symptoms to my low thyroid condition. Within 4 months we were traveling in colder, more humid climates, when my eyes began to get extremely irritated. They were ringed with red spots that became pustules, which would break, then reappear. Soon the itchy irritations traveled onto my forehead, down my face, neck and chest. My throat was also increasingly sore, and I developed a cough. Now I have those same painful, itchy pustules constantly on my ribs, abdomen and lower back. Occasionally, they still develop on my face, shoulders and upper arms. I frequently feel "sickish".

I can certainly connect these symptoms with living in the trailer, which is our home, because when I have visited friends and family, even overnight, the symptoms diminish. When I was gone for 10 days, I was significantly better. When we spent most of our time outdoors for 3 months in Arizona, the symptoms - especially respiratory - were not so bad. 11 months later, we are living and working in Colorado. The spring has been cold and wet and I am miserable. My husband does not appear to be much affected by this situation, but I surely am.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Oversight Comm. hearing reveal extremely high formaldehyde levels

Testing done by the CDC this past winter revealed formaldehyde levels so high that FEMA decided to try to relocate everyone out of emergency housing as soon as possible. But many have wondered how much higher levels were when people first moved into the trailers two years ago because formaldehyde concentrations diminish over time.

Thanks to Rep. Henry Waxman and the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, we now know that manufacturers tested the trailers and found HUGELY ELEVATED levels of formaldehyde. See except below. These are levels of formaldehyde immediately dangerous to health.

Excerpt from executive summary http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20080709103125.pdf

The documents and interviews show that the trailer manufacturers received complaints about high formaldehyde levels in their trailers from hurricane evacuees and others and tested formaldehyde levels in both occupied and unoccupied trailers. The most extensive testing was conducted over two years ago by Gulf Stream, the largest supplier of FEMA trailers. Gulf Stream found formaldehyde levels at or above 100 ppb in every occupied FEMA trailer tested, with two trailers having levels over 600 ppb. The company found even higher levels — up to 4,000 ppb — in unoccupied trailers waiting to be deployed by FEMA. One contractor hired by Forest River to test a trailer in Illinois found formaldehyde levels above 1,500 ppb and advised the manufacturer to “post signs … stating ‘hazardous – do not enter.’”

Despite these test results, the trailer manufacturers did not warn trailer occupants of the dangerous levels of formaldehyde. Gulf Stream did not tell FEMA the company had found elevated levels of formaldehyde in occupied trailers or warn FEMA not to place families in its unoccupied trailers.

Dead bodies caused high formaldehyde levels?

The Journal Gazette published an article July 8 that quoted Indiana Rep. Mark Souder as stating that the high formaldehyde levels found in FEMA trailers “are not scientific because they didn’t measure the formaldehyde that was in the air. He said the petrochemical industries located nearby or even bodies floating in floodwaters might have been factors as well.”
This is a bizarre statement. The government testing of FEMA trailers was conducted this past winter—more than two years after Katrina. There were no dead bodies in the water. Major industry sources of formaldehyde are particleboard and plywood plants, and there are none of those in the area.
I can understand Rep. Souder wanting to protect jobs in Indiana. But as someone who has worked for nearly three years with families who have had numerous, serious health problems because of exposure to high formaldehyde levels, I can tell you there has been much suffering caused by the failure of our government to regulate formaldehyde.
This is not a problem confined to FEMA trailers, nor is it a new problem. We’ve tested RVs as old as 2002 with high levels of formaldehyde. This has also been identified as a problem in mobile homes, temporary classrooms and some modular housing.
To save jobs in Indiana and elsewhere, stop the flood of cheap Chinese wood products high in formaldehyde used to manufacture housing. Encourage the RV industry to adopt safer “green chemistry” alternatives like the composite RVs that Pilgrim International is starting to manufacture.
Rep. Souder would do the most good for this industry and the country by supporting legislation to require EPA to adopt formaldehyde standards so that people can be assured when they purchase a trailer, it is safe. The reason we're in such bad shape with a systemic failure to properly regulate formaldehyde is that industry representatives have used their political clout to prevent adequate formaldehyde regulations.

Becky Gillette

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Family sick in 2005 mobile home

Hi. I am looking for anyone who can relate to my story. After purchasing a double wide mobile home in 2005 my family started having many unexplained medical problems. First and foremost I started noticing my 3 year old daughter was staying sick with upper respiratory infections leading to pneumonia and even hospitalization.This continued on for a year until a doctor was so concerned with her chronic illness that she was tested for autoimmune disorders. You can only imagine my struggle with my little 3 year old all the sleepless nights praying and wondering what could be wrong with this little angel. In the mean time my son was 8 and he began having severe noose bleeds and sinus infections . So i am now asking myself what is going on? Within this time frame I also started having problems with shortness of breath and upper respiratory infections. I went to the doctor and now I was diagnosed with asthma. I had never had asthma or problems with shortness of breath but now the three of us are dealing with these unexplained illnesses. I questioned the doctors but no one wants to pinpoint our problems to formaldehyde. I am trying to find anyone who can help us.

Friday, July 4, 2008

No safe level of formaldehyde because of genetic variability

It is quite clear from the experience of people in FEMA trailers that there can be serious adverse health effects even at levels below .1 ppm or 100 ppb, which is often referenced as the maximum level of formaldehyde that people should be exposed. But that does not mean that .09 ppm or 90 ppb is okay or even lower levels. First, CDC testing has shown levels can vary widely throughout the day and the seasons of the year with levels much higher in heat and humidity. Second, tests are only accurate usually to within 10-25 percent so actual exposure could be higher than measured. Third, these levels were set for healthy adults, not fetuses, babies, the elderly or people with existing health problems. And fourth, people's metabolisms vary.

One the top formaldehyde researchers in the country, Jack Thrasher, Ph.D., Toxicologist, Immunotoxicologist, Fetal toxicologist,
says recent peer reviewed published research has demonstrated some pertinent information: "It has demonstrated that certain genes are responsible for the metabolism and detoxification of formaldehyde. Some humans have abnormalities in these genes and are more susceptible to the adverse effects of formaldehyde. Therefore, there can be no safe standards. The so-called 0.1 ppm standard by various agencies will have be reduced to account for this genetic variability in humans."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

pediatrician agrees HUD standards woefully inadequate

Here is a response from Dr. Scott Needle, the pediatrician who testified in Congress about the large number of patients he was seeing from FEMA trailers, regarding the formaldehyde standards:

I look forward to reviewing the study but, as you are no doubt aware, the HUD rule was set in 1984...

"In the final published rule, HUD recognized that the 0.4 ppm (indoor ambient) level would not be achieved at all times, and that it would not be possible to implement an HCHO (formaldehyde) standard that would protect the entire population. HUD concluded that currently available medical and scientific evidence does not adequately establish health benefits and a level below 0.4 ppm." (Emphasis added)

--Ritchie I and Lehnen R, Formaldehyde-related complaints of residents living in mobile and conventional homes. Am J Pub Health, March 1987, 77(3): 323-328.

The scientific and medical evidence since 1984 now very clearly supports a safe level well below 0.4 ppm (ambient, which HUD believed achievable with particle board kept to 0.3 ppm).

I agree the HUD levels are long overdue to be revised.

--Scott

CDC chainsaw study is out

On July 2 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the final version of their study of 519 occupied FEMA trailers and also a structural study of four RVs (I call it the chainsaw study because they ripped these trailers apart to find out where the formaldehyde was coming from). The report should be up soon at http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehhe/trailerstudy/.
The thing I found most interesting about the chainsaw study is that only one of the 45 travel trailer components tested was above the HUD standards for wood materials. This is very important because it shows that the HUD standards are far too lax. Formaldehyde levels in the travel trailers in the chainsaw study were VERY high ranging from 310 ppb to 789 ppb (0.31 ppm to 0.789 ppm). And these are RVs that are two to three years old!
CDC’s press release says, “But the findings are only applicable to those trailers distributed by FEMA in the Gulf Coast Region; they do not apply to other trailers in use elsewhere in the country.” But in fact this is a widespread problem with trailers for sale to the general public. People are buying these kinds of RVs and finding out too late that they can’t use them because of such high formaldehyde levels that they experience burning eyes, bloody noses, headaches and breathing problems.
While HUD doesn’t regulate travel trailers, it does regulate mobile homes. And the CDC testing also showed unacceptably high formaldehyde levels in many of the mobile homes. HUD should move quickly to strengthen its formaldehyde emission limits from particleboard and plywood. The present standard is woefully inadequate. Becky

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

toxic Keystone RV on YouTube

Toxictrailers has been getting quite a few serious complaints from owners of Keystone RVs, and several have tested very high. CHeck out the new YouTube video on Marvin Motes experience with his Keystone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqp9DQlNBrw

We recently retested Marvin's Keystone and it is even higher than his original tests more than a year ago! It came in at .435 ppm, which is more than four times over the recommended limit for short term exposure of .1 ppm.

Trailer manufacturers tell people bothered by burning eyes, bloody noses and bad headaches in new trailers that you can just air out the trailers and the problem will go away in a short period of time. But we have tested RVs as old as 2002 that are still over .1 ppm. Clearly, in at least some cases the problem can get worse over time.

Toxic trailers headed to Iowa?

FEMA has announced the it is sending mobile homes to the victims of the Iowa flooding. This is after FEMA tested the trailers deliberately trying to get low test numbers by cooling and ventilating the units. Experts say levels can be four to five times higher when you add heat and humidity.

If formaldehyde levels were so high in the trailers tested this past winter (when formaldehyde levels would be lower) that FEMA decided to move everyone out before summer, why are the same stock of trailers now considered okay to send to Iowa?

FEMA's buyback doesn't help everyone

There is a lot of us out there that don't fit FEMA's buy back. I bought my trailer after they came out with the truth about the formaldehyde but the dealer I bought it from bought a big bunch of them and that put him out of business. Therefore, I have no one to buy mine back and FEMA says, Oh, well, just live in it & die. I am 62 with Diabetes, Strokes and have noticed my eyes are watering and itchy real bad.
Can you help???
Please!
Marty


Marty: I have been strongly criticized for having links to attorneys on this web page, but what other recourse can I offer people like you? I'd suggest that you consider legal action as FEMA isn't going to buy back your toxic trailer. Ideally, you should find somewhere else to live. If that isn't possible, you should stay out of the trailer as much as possible, and consider keeping the air conditioner as low as you can with a window cracked open for ventilation. Avoid excess humidity from cooking and bathing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are currently studying different types of air filters, and hopefully a recommendation will be out on that soon.

Becky

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

FEMA did more damage than Katrina

I am 67, my wife is younger an we have lived in a FEMA trailer for more than a year. I arrived at the trailer and taped to my door was a message from fema explaining formaldehyde in the trailers and the symptoms. I had every symptom on the message and moved out of the trailer immediately.
I am having trouble breathing, I get nose bleeds, I itch a lot and have a constant cough. I am under doctors care and do not seem to be getting better. I know that FEMA meant well, but they have done more damage to me then "Katrina" could have ever done.
Thanks for listening,
John M., Long Beach

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

deaths of animals

Hello, What about the people not in the FEMA trailers but trailers that were made at the same time by the same company, really they are the same trailers. We had no person die but we did lose 3 pets in 18 months and out vet says we need to talk to someone.

Scout

Scout: We have had numerous reports of animals getting sick and dying in housing with high formaldehyde levels. Some people like you have lost several pets. One of the cases where there have been pet deaths is in modular housing in Nebraska. Send me your contact info and let's see what the formaldehyde levels are in your trailer.

becky

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

FEMA trailer tests at .4 ppm

I've been talking recently with a woman in Brookhaven very concerned that her whole family has suffered serious illnesses since starting to live in a FEMA mobile home over two years ago. Her husband has COPD and emphysema and it is the worst it has ever been. Her son has difficulty breathing and has nose bleeds. One daughter-in-law alone had $500 in medical bills from just one recent visit to the doctor. Several family members have been plagued with strep throat and bronchitis. And no wonder! Their FEMA trailer tests just came in at .4 ppm. That is four times higher than the maximum level someone should be exposed to in a short period of time.

This gives you an idea how high some of these FEMA trailers can test during the hot, humid months when formaldehyde outgassing increases.

Solution to Particleboard Problem?

Check out the news portion of this website on the lower right for a link to an excellent article by Katherine Salant published recently in the Washington Post, "Solution to the Particleboard Problem?" The take home message is that far safer particleboard resin doesn’t cost much more. It just requires more time to cure. And when you consider that particleboard is such a small portion of the total cost of cabinets, it is shameful that it isn’t the industry standard to use the safer particleboard. Becky

Thursday, May 29, 2008

brain cancer and formaldehyde

My stepfather was diagnosed with a brain cancer the same kind Kennedy has. He had perfect health no drinking, smoking or other bad habits. He is in stage 4 and maybe with radiation and kemo he can live up to 5 years. FEMA tested his trailer and the results was 77 PPB.

MS Cottages test high in formaldehyde

The Mississippi Cottages developed as an alternative to the toxic Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailers and mobile homes may have unacceptably high formaldehyde levels themselves, according to test results released by the Sierra Club.

Responding to concerns about travel trailers being cramped, uncomfortable and making disaster victims sick, FEMA granted $281 million to the State of Mississippi to develop FEMA’s Alternative Housing Program to develop safer and more comfortable emergency housing for victims of natural disasters. The contracts granted by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), however, went to some of the same manufacturers that produced the toxic FEMA mobile homes.

“With the start of hurricane season upon us, all we ask is for safe, healthy, emergency housing,” said Becky Gillette, formaldehyde campaign director for Sierra Club. “The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has plans to test the Mississippi Cottages, and we urge the agency to require manufacturers to remediate any units with high formaldehyde levels.”

Sierra Club, working with WLOX ABC Channel 13 in Gulfport, recently tested five Mississippi Cottages using kits from Advanced Chemical Sensors. Three of the Cottages came in over 0.1 parts per million (ppm), the level at which the EPA and American Lung Association say health effects can occur. The other two Cottages tested above the long-term exposure limits recommended by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

The Mississippi Cottages are larger units that were designed to be cleaner and safer than the infamous FEMA trailers and mobile homes. But the test results suggest that the new Cottages may not have solved the formaldehyde problem. Families currently live in at least 2,500 Cottages, and many more still live in FEMA trailers or mobile homes, including those that have been purchased by the occupants. Many of these people are sick from high formaldehyde levels.

FEMA had announced that it would only purchase emergency housing that tested below 0.016 ppm—much less than what Sierra Club has found in the new Cottages. FEMA made that decision after testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed high formaldehyde levels in FEMA trailers, recreational vehicles and mobile homes (see http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehhe/trailerstudy/.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Washington Post on formaldehyde

Check out the news section of this webpage on the right for a link to the very comprehensive and well-researched article in the Washington Post Sunday on the formaldehyde problems. This is the best news article on the topic since Amanda Spake's article in The Nation. Here is an excerpt that tells the story in a nutshell:

Weak government contracting, sloppy private construction, a surge of low-quality wood imports from China and inconsistent regulation all contributed to the crisis, a Washington Post review found. But each of the key players has pointed fingers at others, a chain of blame with a cost that will not be known for years.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

formaldehyde and brain cancer

With the attention on brain cancer due to the sad news about Sen. Ted Kennedy's tumor, there are new reports that formaldehyde increases the risk of brain cancer for pathologists and embalmers who work with formaldehyde who have an increased risk of developing brain cancer. Who knows the effect of large numbers of people being exposed to formaldehyde up to 24 hours per day in their FEMA trailers, mobile homes and other housing such as modular houses and manufactured apartments?

Monday, May 19, 2008

FEMA selling toxic trailers to residents

Note there is an excellent article today by Gannett News reporter Ana Radalet revealing that FEMA is offering to sell trailers to families even after the trailers have tested high in formaldehyde. Check out the link under toxic trailer news.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Newspaper does story on Truckee apartments

Please check out good story in Sierra Sun linked on the right part of the page under toxic trailer news. It is a story about the manufactured apartment complex in Truckee CA that was discussed in an earlier blog.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

modular homes high in formaldehyde

I have a friend who, along with her family and the dog, have suffered much the past few years. The doctors gave them no idea as to what was causing their health issues. They had numerous symptoms, watery eyes, headaches, blood disorders and their dog had seizures and finally died. They had suspected that perhaps it might be formaldehyde poisoning, after news from FEMA and Hurricane Katrina, which stemmed from either carpets or kitchen cabinets. They own a modular home. They have conducted expensive tests and they show that the formaldehyde level in their home is four times higher than the acceptable rate.
What can be done about this problem in many homes when many people are totally unaware of what is making them ill? Our friends have now learned that there are many other people who have modular homes in the area who suffer the same health issues as they and again, doctors have no clue as to what is doing it.
Do you have any advice?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

formaldehyde in baby furniture!

Baby nursery cribs, changing tables, and dressers can emit formaldehyde at levels linked with increased risk of childhood allergies and asthma, according to a new report released today by Environment California Research & Policy Center. In Toxic Baby Furniture: The Latest Case for Making Products Safe from the Start, Environment California Research & Policy Center worked with an independent laboratory to determine whether formaldehyde emissions from common baby nursery furnishings significantly contribute to indoor air pollution.

“One toxic chemical after another, we’re finding them in our children’s products at levels known to contribute to significant health problems ranging from asthma to cancer. Unfortunately, formaldehyde is just the latest example,” said Rachel Gibson, report author and staff attorney for Environment California. “Right now, through the Green Chemistry Initiative, California has the opportunity to provide real protections to children by requiring the replacement of toxic chemicals with safer alternatives.”

Monday, May 5, 2008

2002 travel trailer still high in formaldehyde

Note: A test kit was sent to the following person in North Carolina. His test results came in at 0.183 ppm which is very high. EPA recommends a maximum level of 0.1 ppm and for long-term exposure the concentrations should be far, far less. No wonder the family was having problems!


I bought my 2002 Coachman travel trailer (28ft) brand new in 2002. I noticed, on hot days especially, and with the windows closed, a very strong irritating interior air. The eyes and nose would burn with a headache soon afterwards. I figured it would dissipate over a short time and didn't give it much thought. I am still having the problem but not as acute. Hope we can get some help with this problem. I have two kids that use the camper with us and was always worried about there airways being affected. I have been trying to sell it for almost a year now with no luck. Help.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Baby dies in apartment complex

After this message was posted below, an infant died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in the apartment complex. There has been concern about the number of SIDS deaths in FEMA trailers on the Gulf Coast. This all underscores the recommendation by Jennifer Donelson (see March 31 blog below) that babies exposed to formaldehyde should be on apnea monitors.

Here is an excerpt from that blog:

My main concern is women in FEMA trailers who are pregnant or who have a baby that spent time as a fetus in a FEMA trailer. Maybe if someone hears my story, they might be able to do something to save their baby’s life. People need to know that an apnea monitors for their child’s breathing could save their child’s life. If my child had an apnea monitor, he wouldn’t have been dead for 20 minutes and suffered all that brain damage.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Donelson, Southaven,
jkneelee@gmail.com
Southaven, 228-265-2996

Saturday, April 26, 2008

manufactured apartment making family ill

I moved into a manufactured apartment six months ago with my two sons. This is the nicest place we have ever lived in, the only three-bedroom place we have been able to afford. Before moving in we were camping out for two months because we couldn’t find anywhere else to stay.
Immediately after I moved in I began to sneeze, and would wake up with profuse amounts of phlegm in my throat. We’ve had burning eyes and nose. My sinuses have been affected and I have never had allergies or asthma before. I have had tremendous headaches. One of my sons and I have had bloody noses. We have all experienced extreme fatigue.
Two months after I moved in they posted formaldehyde warning signs stating: This building contains building materials that are known to cause cancer and reproductive damage and birth defects.
The formaldehyde has irritated my whole system so much I’ve been emotionally a wreck. I’ve ended up with bleeding in my stomach and blood in my stool, but my landlord won’t let me out of my lease. I am a single mother with two boys who rely on me. I am on disability. I have to decide between staying here and being poisoned or loosing my housing vouchers and being homeless.
They think they are doing low-income people a favor by building this kind of housing, and they shouldn’t complain. Because it is cost effective for some people to build them, is it okay to poison people? Large amounts of government financial was used to build this apartment complex. I think these places should be banned. They are planning on building these kind of manufactured apartments all over the country including in Hawaii.

Friday, April 25, 2008

EPA petition on formaldehyde

In today’s Federal Register, EPA requested comments on the TSCA Section 21 petition to adopt and apply nationally the formaldehyde emissions regulation for composite wood products recently approved by the California Air Resources Board (CARB); and to extend the regulation to include composite wood products used in manufactured homes. EPA must accept or deny the petition on or before June 21, 2008. See http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/pdf/E8-9136.pdf for a copy of the Federal Register notice.

Submit comments on or before May 12 by going to www.regulations.gov and looking for EPA Docket # EPA–HQ–OPPT–2008–0267. Go to www.sierraclub.org/toxics/downloads/2008-03-20-formaldehydepetition.pdf to view the petition. 25 organizations and 5000 individuals from every state signed the petition. See the list of organizations signing it below. To get the latest on CARB’s standards, which went into effect on April 18, go to www.arb.ca.gov/toxics/compwood/compwood.htm .

Friday, April 18, 2008

ALS\Lou Gehrig's disease linked to formaldehyde

See the toxic trailer news link on the right for article showing that exposure to chemical formaldehyde has been linked to much higher risks of getting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease. This was a "surprise." But to the people who have struggled to breathe in FEMA trailers high in formaldehyde, experiencing problems like frequent bloody noses, this news won't be shocking.

This was posted as a blog to Medpage Today by Cohn Charles, Ph.D.
With regard to formaldehyde exposure, be aware that most of the chemicals used in chemical toilets (portable toilets as well as RV and boat toilets) contain formaldehyde. There are toilet chemicals available that don't contain formaldehyde, but you have to look for them. Read the labels carefully when you buy these chemicals. I have also noticed that the free bottles of chemical that come with new toilets usually contain formaldehyde.

Friday, April 11, 2008

New home tests high after 1.5 years

Just recently sent a test kit to Robert E. Richardson, Apopka, FL, Phone: 407 451 0004, to test his home that is 1.5 years old. It is a regular stick-built home, a nice home. When the family first moved in there was a very strong chemical odor. "You opened the door, walked in the house and Wow! It about knocked you over." Robert had allergy problems before, but they have gotten much worse living in the house. He has a runny nose and his nose swells shut. They have been opening the windows and doors as much as they can. But this still tested high at 0.093 ppm. It was likely much higher when the home was new. This test is higher than the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Minimum Risk Level (MRL) for 1 to 14 days exposure, which is 0.04 ppm. The MLR for 14 to 365 days is 0.03 and the MRL for 365 days or more is 0.008. Clearly this is not a healthy home.

This is more evidence the formaldehyde problem is not confined to RVs, mobile homes and structures like portable classrooms. We would like to test more homes. Please contact me at 4becky@cox.net if you want a free test kit. We would also really like to test some portable classrooms.

Becky

Thursday, April 10, 2008

handicapped van has formaldehyde problems

My whole family has had illnesses from formaldehyde from a handicapped van that was title washed in MS and sneaked into Florida and sold to us unknowingly with levels testing as 1.9 ppm's now after 2 years already. Go to WWW.MYFOXTAMAPBAY.COM and in search type in SICK VAN and read the article the local media was in the hearing with us the whole time taping for us. GO TO : WWW.CONSUMERAFFAIRS.ORG which is a magazine with articles and updates to the story that they published about our van too. In search type in KATRINA LEGACY

You will be shocked to see the video for sure.

Please help us get this to Congress and legislators so that formaldehyde will be banned for life in trailer and vehicles, too.

I have lung problems on top of all minor reactions. I have acquired chemical asthma and vocal cord dysfunction and paralysis to my cords from chemical smells of all types. I am highly reactive now to it all. I also have skin cancer and cut out three times in the same spot and still keeps coming back. They can seem to control it.

My mom had it in her head, hands, leg, back. The leg took 1 1/1 yrs to heal. When it healed it is dark brown 4 inch scar now.

My husband also had skin cancer in his elbow ....this it to coincidental to have 4 members who rode in this van to all come down at the same time with cancer of some type.

I can tell you that FORD does not care about taking it back into their possession and the FORD lawyer refused to enter the vehicle too.

As for the title washing : Ford sold it to Companion Van, Inc in MS who then customized it and sold it back to another Ford Dealership, but the only title that was ever issued was the one to us after I got stopped by the military police entering a military post with stolen plates on it. MY plates were to be transferred and they never did the paperwork but transferred physically the plates. I sat in custody for several hrs while they investigated the problem. How embarrassingly is that when an Non commission officer which was me SFC e-7 trying to enter a military base with stolen plates on the vehicle. I am retired military and should know better I was told.

Joanna H Rydzewski

DisabledSFCVET@aol.com

PS Also the vehicle was flooded and dried out and sneaked into Fl where we bought it ....I found this thru extensive research on my own.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Keystone concerns

My name is Rachel Strain, my husband and I had purchased a Keystone 30ft trailer right after hurricane Katrina. We purchased it because we had several people that needed a place to stay. The only problem was that when you would stay in the trailer for any length of time you would begin to get headaches. The first person and her daughter that stayed with us, stated that her eyes were itchy, and both of them were getting sore throats, just not feeling well. They only stayed in the trailer after that to get some alone time - but we always had the windows opened up - as directed by the company we purchased the trailer from. My friend and her daughter then would stay in our home at night.

Our second guest ended only having to stay for a few days here and there while he worked on his home for a several weeks. He had also complained of itchy, watery eyes, and feeling tired.

We began to get really concerned- The warmer the weather was getting the worse you would feel shortly after entering the camper. I tried to make it into an office - but I could not understand why my eyes were irritating me so much as well as sore throats and being tired.

We tried numerous time to contact the company that manufactured the trailer as well as the company we purchased the trailer from - everyone states to air the trailer out - Well it has been a little over 2 years now - and we still can't use it. I would like to have someone contact me and perhaps direct me the correct way. I have no idea what to do - who to contact. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,

Rachel Strain
985-502-2205 or rachelhstrain@aol.com

Saturday, April 5, 2008

House Science and Technology Committee hearing

We are very thankful that the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight held a hearing April 1 Toxic Trailers: Have the Centers for Disease Control Failed to Protect Public Health? A tremendous amount of good information came out of the hearing, and you can access the lengthy written testimony at http://science.house.gov/publications/hearings_markups_details.aspx?NewsID=2133.

We need strong national standards for indoor formaldehyde and a full investigation as to how FEMA and the CDC failed to protect the health of the most vulnerable Americans. Emergency housing should protect disaster victims and not expose them to further danger.

Sierra Club began testing FEMA trailers in April 2006 and immediately found widespread formaldehyde contamination. It took CDC until October 2007--more than two years after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita--to publicly communicate the true threat of formaldehyde and the elevated levels that EPA testing had found. That was two years in which tens of thousands of families were exposed to this toxic gas. People with pre-existing conditions like asthma were finding it hard to breathe. Mothers were waking up in the middle of the night to give breathing treatments to their children. FEMA and CDC showed an appalling lack of urgency and a callous disregard for the health of FEMA trailer residents.

It is particularly important that the House Committee has now sent a second letter to protect whistleblower Dr. Chris DeRosa, who testified at the hearing. This is a press release on that issue:

(Washington, DC) Yesterday, in conjunction with the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology hearing on an investigation into the toxic FEMA trailers put in place after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, senior Committee Members sent a letter to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Julie Gerberding, asking that she suspend all personnel actions against Dr. Chris De Rosa and return him to his post as Director of the Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine within the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

The letter was signed by Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN), and Subcommittee Chairmen Brad Miller (D-NC) (Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight) and Nick Lampson (D-TX) (Subcommittee on Energy and Environment).

Dr. Chris De Rosa is described in the letter as being “instrumental in revealing the massive failings in ATSDR’s erroneous and completely unsubstantiated conclusion last February that the formaldehyde levels in trailers used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to house victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita” did not pose a health risk for occupants. De Rosa, who was removed from his post in the wake of repeated clashes with ATSDR managers over toxic trailers and other matters, also testified at an Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee hearing yesterday on this matter.

The letter reads, in part, “This appears to be a classic ‘shoot-the-messenger’ response from an agency which our investigation has shown to have engaged in a scientific and management fiasco at the highest levels. Even when top management became aware of the problems with the original health consultation [on formaldehyde in trailers], it compounded this public health disaster by further inaction, foot-dragging and passing the buck in every direction except where it belongs—in the offices of the top leadership of ATSDR and CDC.”

“By this letter, we are asking that you immediately suspend the implementation of Dr. De Rosa’s Personal Improvement Plan and return Dr. De Rosa to his previous position, which he held successfully for many years. We also ask that you arrange a personal meeting to explain the conduct of your agency regarding Dr. De Rosa and how you intend to improve that record.”, and requesting he be reinstated in his position.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Blue babies: apnea monitor may save lives

I spent the first three months of my pregnancy living in a FEMA trailer in Pass Christian, MS. We moved out of the camper because I was so severely sick. I threw up all the time when I never experienced serious morning sickness with my first three children.

When my son Weslee Mashburn was born March 22, 2008, he appeared to be okay. Soon after giving birth, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. At three months, Weslee stopped breathing once and I snatched him up and he started breathing again. Another time we rushed him to the hospital because his skin turned blue.

Then at six months of age Weslee had a Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) experience. He stopped breathing for 20 minutes. We rushed him to the hospital, and he was revived but he suffered severe brain damage. Part of his brain died. He suffers 100 to 500 seizures a day and can’t swallow so he has a feeding tube. He has an apnea monitor. Part of his brain has died and turned back into liquid. He is in physical therapy and occupational speech therapy. What the doctors say now is he had some developmental delays that I didn’t notice.

Until recently I didn’t connect Weslee’s problems with the high formaldehyde levels that have been found in FEMA trailers. Then I heard Wanda Phillips on television talk about how her grandbaby had stopped breathing. I spoke with her later and Wanda said her granddaughter also turns blue. Wanda is also concerned her granddaughter clenches her fists all the time and holds her bottle with clenched fists. Weslee did this and the doctors said it could be a sign of developmental delay.

Wanda’s daughter Raven stayed with her mother on the weekends in a FEMA trailer and also at her mothers house that is located across the road from thousands of FEMA trailers at a FEMA staging facility. Raven became pregnant and was exposed to FEMA trailers during her whole pregnancy. Raven had difficulty carrying her child and was hospitalized and given medication to keep her from losing her baby. Raven did not have these problems with her first two children. Raven’s daughter is only four months so maybe she will grow out of turning blue. But seeing the other granddaughters with bloody noses and coughing makes the family apprehensive.

The son of Lindsay and Steve Huckabee of Kiln, MS, who was in a FEMA trailer while his mother was pregnant and for the first years of his life, also sometimes turns blue.

I started doing research and found studies by Dr. Jack Thrasher, who is a toxicologist/immunotoxicologist/fetaltoxicologist who has published a number of scientific studies in peer reviewed scientific journals. His research shows that formaldehyde is strongly mutagenic (can cause genetic birth defects) and teratogenic (can interfere with normal development of an embryo). When I asked him if what happened to Weslee could have been caused by the formaldehyde, he said, “Absolutely.” Dr. Thrasher wants to hear from other FEMA trailer families who also have babies who turn blue. He can be contacted at toxicologist1@msn.com. His phone number is 775-636-8513.

My main concern is women in FEMA trailers who are pregnant or who have a baby that spent time as a fetus in a FEMA trailer. Maybe if someone hears my story, they might be able to do something to save their baby’s life. People need to know that an apnea monitors for their child’s breathing could save their child’s life. If my child had an apnea monitor, he wouldn’t have been dead for 20 minutes and suffered all that brain damage.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Donelson, Southaven,
jkneelee@gmail.com
Southaven, 228-265-2996

Monday, March 24, 2008

thousands exposed to formaldehyde may become chemically sensitive

The Chemical Sensitivity Foundation is concerned that many residents of the Gulf States may have developed the condition known as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) because of their exposure to toxic substances during Katrina or Rita or from exposure to formaldehyde in FEMA trailers. People who develop MCS can no longer tolerate exposure to many everyday chemicals such as perfume, paint, gasoline, cigarette smoke, air fresheners, pesticides, cleaning products, or traffic fumes. Those who develop MCS also react to chemicals called mycotoxins that are given off by mold, which was of course a huge problem after Katrina and Rita.

For more information about multiple chemical sensitivity, please visit www.chemicalsensitivityfoundation.org. My personal website, www.alisonjohnsonmcs.com contains information about my books and DVDs on MCS, including my films Gulf War Syndrome: Aftermath of a Toxic Battlefield and The Toxic Clouds of 9/11: A Looming Health Disaster. The latter two films document the development of multiple chemical sensitivity among the Gulf War veterans and those exposed to the fumes from the WTC collapse and fires. It is only a matter of time until it will become apparent that MCS is now a problem for thousands who were caught in Katrina or Rita.

Alison Johnson
207-725-8570

Friday, March 21, 2008

Congresswoman poisoned by formaldehyde

Statement from U.S. Representative Diane E. Watson (D-Los Angeles):

I’d like to share my personal experience with illness due to exposure to formaldehyde.

During my tenure as a member of the California State Senate, I moved into a new office. I was given new carpeting and it was put down with glue. They painted my walls and they brought in naugahyde furniture. Soon after I moved in, I became violently ill. I went to doctors in Sacramento and Los Angeles. I spent thousands of dollars of my own money to find out why my ears were tearing and red, my nose was running, my face was swollen, and my stomach was cramped. This happened over a period of months. I was subjected to all kinds of skin tests during that time, too.

I then found out that I was allergic to something called “formaldehyde.” I was not aware that the glue that is used to stick carpets and tiles to the floor has formaldehyde in it. It was a rude awakening.

One of my doctors sent a team of specialists to test the air in my office. They wrote me a six-page letter, single-spaced which outlined the cause of my problems. It was due to exposure to formaldehyde. I took that letter to the Rules Committee of the California State Senate. They said that I could have my office redone. But it would take two and a half years for the formaldehyde to gas out. Two and a half years is a long time.

As long as that substance is there in the component parts of a building, you are breathing it in. It will definitely affect your entire system, because it goes up into your T-zone, it affects your brain, it affects your concentration, it starts to destroy the brain. It could eventually kill you.

Since then, I’ve learned that formaldehyde can be toxic, allergenic, and carcinogenic. Because formaldehyde resins are used in many construction materials, formaldehyde is one of the more common indoor air pollutants. At certain concentrations, formaldehyde can irritate the eyes and mucous membranes , resulting in watery eyes. If inhaled, formaldehyde may cause headaches, a burning sensation in the throat, and difficulty breathing, as well as triggering or aggravating asthma symptoms.

I was a victim of formaldehyde exposure in that office environment. I know that others are being exposed to it and don’t even know it.”

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity from formaldehyde exposure?

Hi, I was intrigued by your site at toxictrailers.org. While I've never lived in a FEMA trailer, I did move into a brand new Palm Harbor double wide mobile home in 2001. Within 6 months, I became extremely ill with multiple chemical sensitivity. I realize my story isn't FEMA related, but if you're still interested, let me know and I'll be glad to supply the details.

Anna

FEMA trailers still being sold?

I have not been exposed to formaldehyde from FEMA trailers, but I do want you to know what I was told by an employee who works at the Illinois state and federal surplus warehouse facility in Springfield, Illinois (924 S. 10 1/2 St. 217-785-6903). While visiting there approximately 3 weeks ago, I was told that some of the items in the federal side of the operation were new, untouched overstocks from FEMA / Katrina, including, but not limited to thousands of plastic bottles of "expired" drinking water and FEMA trailers, for sale for only $3,000 each. I have no evidence of formaldehyde in those trailers, and in fact did not ask to see the trailers. My point... The feds may be selling more toxic trailers quietly throughout the U.S. at such facilities, off the radar.

I hope you find this of interest.

Michael

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Health survey for Katrina\Rita survivors

NATIONWIDE HEALTH SURVEY TO ASSESS PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACTS FROM HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA
Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) and Partners Publishing LLC Join Forces to Give Hurricane Victims a Unified Voice and Provide Statistical Data
  
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, March 12, 2008 —Hurricanes Katrina and Rita impacted the health of many individuals: residents, disaster rescue and recovery personnel, remediation and rebuilding specialists—the list goes on and on . . .   Now affected individuals can stand up and have their health concerns counted. Two organizations, Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) and Partners Publishing LLC, have joined forces to launch “The 2008 Nationwide Hurricane Katrina and Rita Health Survey,” which is located online at www.partnerspublishing.org . The nationwide survey will provide statistical health data on not only Gulf Coast residents but also on evacuees, volunteers, and workers that are scattered across the nation. A Spanish version of the survey will be available no later than Monday, March 24, 2008.
  
The primary purpose of the survey is to identify the current health status of individuals whose physical and psychological health remains negatively impacted from exposures to flood waters, hurricane sediment, water-damaged buildings, mold, formaldehyde and/or mold in FEMA-provided trailers, mobile homes, or park models, and/or other contaminants incurred during and/or after Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, and/or from other contaminant-laden post-hurricane housing. The secondary purpose of the survey is to identify the total number of people who have become physically and/or psychologically ill since hurricanes Katrina and Rita to assist in identifying health trends, patterns of illnesses, and geographic clusters of increased levels of illnesses. For this reason, the survey seeks to identify individuals by exposure location, health status, and current residence as well as to assess the level of health-enhancing information desired by affected individuals.
  

Monday, March 10, 2008

husband killed by particleboard in waterbed

This problem has been known about as far back as 1984. My husband became disabled from the formaldehyde in the boards that his waterbed was made from. People made jokes about it then, but he got an infection in his sinus that went to his brain. You can imagine the rest. He was 52 and never worked again in his life. They should have known better in those trailers! We were told that the boards (4 x 8) had to be "cooked" and that they didn't cook these boards enough to dry up the glue. My husband passed away this summer. He never got a chance to live a full life again. Thank you, Betty Vaughn (Brv01@aol.com)

like trailer but not the burning eyes and health effects...

I purchased a Passport Ultralite made by Keystone, and have tried everything under the sun to get the burning of eyes etc. out of this trailer. This is very disappointing. Is there anything I can do as we like the trailer but don't want to effect our health or the health of our grandchildren and children. Any help would be appreciated. I feel the manufacturers of these should be made accountable, but I guess since we can't make the tobacco industry accountable, then how are we going to make these manufacturers accountable?
Thanks for listening. Larry from South Louisiana. My e-mail is larryhobby@yahoo.com.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Far from LA but not from formaldehyde...

I live far from Lousisiana, but not far from formaldehyde. You see, I live just two blocks from Plum Creek Lumber in Columbia Falls, Montana. In 2006 the plant released 464,250 pounds of formaldehyde through air emissions according to EPA records. That's 1,272 pounds a day! And the fiberboard plant is directly across from my 3rd grade son's school....

Please share my story.

Thank you,
Rene Ferretti
Po Box 1471
Columbia Falls, MT 59912
406-892-1625

Thursday, March 6, 2008

manufacturers to blame

On Wed, Mar 5, 2008 at 7:39 PM, Edward Peterson wrote:
Send all those FEMA trailers back to the manufacturers and demand the taxpayers money back. The trailers were produced with an illegal substance in their walls and the manufacturers must bear responsibility for ignoring the law.

new home contaminated

On Wed, Mar 5, 2008 at 4:31 AM, Robert Richardson wrote:
It is not only found in RV's. You can smell it in our new house. I have nasty breathing problems which I attribute to chemicals in the environment. What are we doing to my little grandchildren when they visit? The building industry only cares about profit regardless of toxicity. Bob Richardson, Apopka, FL

poisoned by formaldehyde in CalEPA building

Hello,

I had worked at the CalEPA bldg in Sacramento for several years and ended up having to find a new job due to formaldehyde exposure there. The management would do nothing about it. I have lots more info, including some air sampling data, and contacts of several of the 100+ employees that experienced breathing difficulties, migraines, and skin rashes due to the toxic exposure to formaldehyde and other VOCs in that building. I hope you contact me. This needs to end. (use of toxics in bldg materials) Thank you so much.

Nancy

P.S. I even "won" a workers comp case against them.

had to sign statement that knew formaldehyde was in mobile home

This has nothing to do with the tragic FEMA story, but I bought a manufactured home where I had to sign a statement that I knew formaldehyde existed in my new home. It's a 2000 Liberty manufactured in Sheridan, Oregon in 2000. They assured me the level met the regulations set by the feds. I have'nt ever noticed any 'signs' of being affected by the formaldehyde,but my cat and dog were very leery about coming in. The cat took six yrs. to come in. I figured it was because it was a new home they had never seen or been in. Could you tell me if what I signed was true and what are the 'signs' of formaldehyde poisoning. If you could email me any information on this subject, I would surely appreciate it.

No where for trailer people to go...

On Tue, Mar 4, 2008 at 5:31 PM, MARCIA K FELLOWS <1-flowers2@sbcglobal.net> wrote:
To Whom It May Concern: What's the benefit of sheltering people with toxic trailers? FEMA, you are lagging behind, again. Your plan is to get these very same people out of these toxic trailers to go where? There isn't any more housing available for them and what was there's is gone? Who is running this circus anyway? What can supportive people or groups do to help; create the solutions? How can these trailer people help their own cause? Let me know, please. Marcia K Fellows

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Formaldehyde problem has been around for 30 years

As a former Dealer for Jayco, Springdale by Keystone, Prowler By Fleetwood, Pilgrim and Open Road both by Pilgrim International for the last 40+ years I can tell you this problem with formaldehyde goes back at least 30 years. The units would come from the manufactures with warning stickers affixed to the medicine cabinets mirror warning potential customers of the formaldehyde used in the building process, and the risks associated with formaldehyde.

Roughly 10-12 years ago those labels seemed to have disappeared from the units. The formaldehyde symptoms did not. We would advise our customers to air the units out for at least a full week to dissipate the fumes into the atmosphere. We kept the doors on our lot units open to try and relieve the burning eyes from prospective buyers. Even after 2-3 years, the left over units still had the same strength and intensity as newer units coming into the dealership. Speaking to the manufacturers about this problem, we were advised that the fumes would expel from the units given enough outside air entering and exiting them.

The problem on this matter goes well beyond the FEMA trailers! Now that 130,000 units have been purchased and delivered to one part of the countries population, the problem and truth is finally being brought to the spotlight! It does strike me funny that the manufactures would not let me sell a unit to be lived in full time. We were always told that the units were recreational vehicles, meaning part time use only. They would not warranty any unit being used as a full time residence.

ALL units being built, and sold to the public suffer the same formaldehyde problems. Around 1990 the manufactures had to scramble because the economy was in a recession, and they needed to find a way to combat a new line called Dutchmen that was the cheapest unit on the market. Low and behold, solid wood was being replaced with vinyl wrapped particleboard, in the flooring, and cabinets. The vinyl flooring was being cut under the carpeting, exposing the particleboard to the living areas. The foam padding was taken out of the units. Smaller and fewer windows were used, less roof vents being put into the units. Meanwhile, the pricing on the units did not lower, and the manufactures profits increased.

Within 5 years of the Dutchmen introduction, all the manufacturers were building low end cheaply built units. These manufactures know what type of health risks they are subjecting the consumer. All they care about is selling you one unit, they no longer care about loyalty. The average mark-up from manufacturer to consumer is approximately 40-45% on the window sticker of a new unit. With the manufacturer making more money selling the unit to the dealer, than the dealer selling it to the consumer.

Wait until the formaldehyde issue is raised once again with the Manufactured Housing contract that was just awarded to Fleetwood by the U.S. Army. Read Fleetwods latest press releases. These manufactured homes are built out of the exact same materials that the trailers are built with!

I think the Government will try and take the blame for this unfortunate situation with these units, but the problem has been blowing around for a very long time, and the manufacturers, not the government, should be held responsible for the health risks these folks have been put in.

2005 Jayco has obvious formaldehyde problems

Dr. Scott A. Newquist, dr.newquist@yahoo.com, Chiropractic Physician, Certified Personal Trainer

To Whom it May Concern:

I have a 2005 Jayco Jayflight 31 BHS with obvious formaldehyde fume problems. I have just ordered two separate test kits for measuring the levels of gas inside the trailer at different temperatures. I am very concerned for the health of my young son and wife, both of whom have asthma, allergies and chronic recurrent respiratory infections since the purchase of the trailer. I have exhausted the "remedies" given by the dealer and online advisors to no avail. Where do I go from here? Our dealer plays dumb, Jayco denies any problem with fumes and I just want a trailer that's not toxic and potentially a hazard.

Dr. Scott Newquist

Monday, March 3, 2008

CDC findings are out

The CDC has released preliminary results of its testing of trailers, park models and mobile homes purchased by FEMA for disaster victims and the most striking thing is that all the brands had some high levels in the tests. This dovetails with Sierra Club testing of 17 different models that found at least one high test for each model.

Go to this link to read the study: http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehhe/trailerstudy/

An excerpt: "The GM (geometric mean) formaldehyde levels varied significantly between between travel trailers, park models, and mobile homes, but a wide range of formaldehyde levels were found in each of the three types. All three types contained some units with levels that were elevated (Table 1) relative to usual U.S. background levels (i.e., levels to which persons typically are exposed during daily life, typically 10- 30 ppb in indoor air).

"The travel trailer brands Gulfstream, Keystone, and Pilgrim were not significantly different from each other but each showed statistically significantly higher levels of formaldehyde than the other travel-trailer strata combined. After adjusting for smoking, windows being open, temperature, and humidity, Forest River travel trailers also had significantly higher formaldehyde levels as compared with all other travel trailers combined."

THE REALLY IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER is these tests were done at the coldest time of year when formaldehyde levels would be at their lowest level. And people weren't allowed to be cooking or bathing because formaldehyde levels would be higher. Under real life use of these trailers, formaldehyde levels would have been even higher.