About ToxicTrailers.com

ToxicTrailers.com was launched after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when the government spent more than $2 billion on FEMA trailers with high levels of formaldehyde that sickened thousands of people. The FEMA trailer tragedy exposed what is a widespread problem in RVs, mobile homes, modular buildings and even conventional buildings that use pressed wood products. Unfortunately, as we approach the tenth anniversary of Katrina, formaldehyde regulations are not being enforced in the U.S., and people's health is at risk. If you are having burning eyes, congestion, sore throat, coughing, breathing difficulties, frequent sinus infections or rashes, and difficulties concentrating, you may have a formaldehyde problem. For questions or to share your story, write 4becky@cox.net.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

DeVany response to CDC\FEMA coverup of formaldehyde problems

Note: This is a letter from Mary DeVany regarding news stories on www.salon.com, AP, and CBS News (see toxic trailer news links) revealing that CDC and FEMA colluded to coverup the dangers of formaldehyde poisoning from FEMA trailers. DeVany was an expert witness for Sierra Club at Congressional hearings on this problem in the summer of 2007.

Here my editorial in Salon.com published regarding the Salon article regarding the FEMA\CDC coverup of problems with formaldehyde in FEMA trailers:

This article is a long time in the coming, and I'm gratified that the collusion between the CDC and FEMA is finally coming to light and getting the notoriety that it deserves.

In my Congressional testimony last July 19, 2007, I had been requested to explain to Congress the health effects of formaldehyde, how formaldehyde got into the temporary housing units, what the various exposure limits of different agencies mean, and to give advice to Congress on follow-up actions to reduce formaldehyde exposures to the residents in these trailers.

I stated before the Federal Agency Oversight Committee, Chaired by Congressman Henry A. Waxman, that the CDC had misapplied the science and toxicology of formaldehyde from its own agency's interpretation published by the ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry -- a branch of the CDC).

I have excerpted that section (section 10) of my testimony below.

In July 2006, FEMA developed and implemented an air monitoring and sampling plan to establish and verify methods to reduce the presence of formaldehyde fumes in travel trailers. The sampling was conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the data were analyzed by the ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Register), which is affiliated with the
Centers for Disease Control, at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The results of this study showed high levels of formaldehyde in nearly all of the trailers, whether they were continuously ventilated or were kept cool through air conditioning. Without giving any explanation, although the ATSDR has an exposure limit of 0.008 ppm for exposures of 365 or more days, rather than use this limit when analyzing EPA‚s air sampling of FEMA‚s trailers, the ATSDR arbitrarily chose a limit of 0.3 ppm as their "level of concern" and applied this high level to the results as if it were a safe and applicable exposure limit.

This level is nearly 40 times the ATSDR's limit for people exposed more than 365 days, as the hurricane victims living in travel trailers are, and resulted in a bizarre skewing of the sampling results interpretation. However, even applying this "level of concern," the average sampling results were even higher than this very elevated level.

This misapplication and skewing of scientific results is at best unethical and grossly misrepresents and attempts to minimize the adverse health effects being experienced by thousands of travel trailer residents."

The bigger question is: when will our government stop protecting the temporary housing unit/trailer manufacturers that supplied such a dangerous product?

Mary C. DeVany, MS, CSP, CHMM
DeVany Industrial Consultants
14507 NW 19th Ave.
Vancouver, WA 98685-8003 USA
Phone: (360) 546-0999
Fax: (360) 546-0777
E-mail: mdevany@earthlink.net

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

FEMA mobile home causes major illness for family in Minnesota

This is a letter to editor from a women in St. Paul sent to several newspapers in her region:

Our daughter, her fiancé, their 2 ½ month old baby, her fiancé’s brother, and a ten pound dog all moved into a three bedroom FEMA mobile home on December 30, 2007. Within two days and three nights two of the three adults experienced chest pain so serious my daughter considered calling 911. All three adults, baby, and dog became extraordinarily fatigued. Her fiancé slept for twelve hours and still didn’t feel rested. The baby slept for six solid hours after spending only 24 hours in the mobile home—six hours is very unusual for a 2 ½ month old. The normally extremely active dog became listless and just lay around. My daughter developed pain in her neck glands and a rash. A friend spent about four hours with them and developed chest pain so severe he wanted to cry. I developed breathing difficulty after spending less than ten minutes inside the mobile home; it took almost 24 hours for my breathing to return to normal.

When everyone finally realized the trailer was making them deathly sick, they vacated immediately. They moved in with a family member for about three days, but then had to find temporary housing once again. Out of desperation for a place to sleep, they decided to spend another night in the mobile home thinking maybe they just imagined their symptoms. All the
symptoms started to return; my daughter said she would never spend another night in that mobile home.

I have known for years that trailers and mobile homes can be more toxic than other housing. However, when I heard my daughter and her family were living in a FEMA mobile home, I was deeply concerned for their health because these homes were produced inexpensively with more formaldehyde than a typical mobile home. I did some research online and discovered many people have become sick, and some have died mysteriously after living in a FEMA mobile home.

Even before I knew about everyone’s chest pain, I was deeply concerned for our granddaughter’s life as I have believed for a long time that toxic chemicals are the cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). SIDS babies die with few noticeably symptoms. My breathing difficulties were not apparent to others, and my granddaughter could have had the same problem. Fortunately, I can verbally tell people my breathing is bad. Babies cannot tell anyone they are having difficulty breathing. According to what I have read, there are only three signs of a SIDS baby: babies sleep more, won’t eat, and have a high-pitched scream. Breathing difficulty could produce all three of these warning signs.

A glut of unused FEMA mobile homes initially intended for hurricane Katrina victims are being sold across the country at reduced prices.  These FEMA mobile homes are showing up in many mobile home parks, not only the mobile home park my daughter moved to.  I pray you will warn your family and friends so no one else has to suffer serious, life-threatening health problems like our daughter and her family did. Your warning could save much suffering—it could even save a life.

NOTE FROM BECKY: Formaldehyde levels high enough to make an adult this sick could be fatal to an infant. We know of two infants on the MS Gulf Coast whose deaths are believed to have been caused by formaldehyde. It can't be proven but we do know the average levels of formaldehyde in these campers are higher than what OSHA would allow for eight hour workforce exposure. Much higher. Think about bringing a newborn into this situation...especially a premature infant.

And read today's major national news stories (see the toxic trailer news links for Jan. 29) that the government deliberately withheld information about the health risks from these high formaldehyde levels.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Formaldehyde in 2004 Jayco?

On Jan 18, 2008 7:21 AM, Marsh, Robert wrote:

Our 2004 Jayco 29 BH trailer makes you sick and burns your eyes every time you go into the unit. We have gotten into the habit of leaving the door open and let the unit air out before we use the unit.

Could this be formaldehyde? Is this dangerous to my family to use the unit? This unit is not our primary residence.

Best Regards,

Robert Marsh
2303 moonstone drive
Killeen Texas 76549

Dear Robert: That sounds like classic formaldehyde problems. I would suggest getting a test kit to see. FEMA just announced that it is buying back the toxic trailers used for emergency housing and then sold at auction, too. The testing done by EPA, Sierra Club and trial lawyers has shown high levels of formaldehyde in nearly all of the trailers. Jayco is among the brands tested that has had excessive levels of formaldehyde.


(Note this trailer was manufactured prior to Hurricane Katrina...this problem is not just with trailers manufactured after Katrina for FEMA but epidemic in an industry that evidently has chosen to use cheap Chinese plywood and particle board in their trailers with no regard for the people poisoned by these products.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

FEMA ignores solutions to formaldehyde

My name is Martin Boyd and I work with Government Scientific representing the Genesis Air Technology. We have the answer to the FEMA/CDC mobile home concern. It is too simple for the bureaucrats to understand. This technology eliminates 95% of all VOC’S and 98% biological elements. I have written, and I have offered sample units for evaluation to no avail. What I do not understand is the mindset. The Technology has been tested by the US Army at Dugway Proving Grounds, and other independent labs. (Including Berkley). If you are interested in hearing more; I have a presentation given to the EPA on file.
I may be reached at (800)248-8030 (office), (703) 861-7738 (cell), or mboyd@govsci.com. Good Luck and Thank you for your concern. Sincerely, Marty Boyd.

Chinese plywood very high in formaldehyde

Note this message posted on the Internet by RMA Environmental Consulting of Northern Indiana:

A warehousing operation called us in to examine the air quality in one of their warehouses. One of their customers had received several shipments of plywood from China, and the warehousing operator felt that the atmosphere around the plywood was contaminated. We ran a few tests and determined that formaldehyde was coming off of the plywood. We explained to the warehousing folks that urea formaldehyde is a common adhesive used in the manufacturing of plywood. We also noted that we had never heard of the urea formaldehyde deteriorating into formaldehyde gas. You may have heard in the past couple of years of trailers manufactured for FEMA in which formaldehyde was discovered. Our client, the warehousing operator, was able to reject further shipments of this plywood. Obviously, other folks in the manufactured housing and towable trailer industries were not as wise.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

FEMA trailer problems affect ability to work and entire lifestyle

I am writing to you as a result of my conversation with a representative from the CDC, my existing health issues and also after hearing about the deaths and numerous health related issues which others have been having from living in their FEMA trailers resulting from their exposure to formaldehyde.

MY SYMPTOMS- Since I began staying into my FEMA trailer, I have had a constant cough and nasal drip, then when I would go out of town for a few days it would go away. I have had a constant tired feeling as though I was coming down with a cold or the flu. There was an incident where I was out of town for about two weeks and when I opened the door, there was a strong odor and my eyes began to poor with water. Immediately, I called FEMA maintenance and was told to open the windows to air it out. I told her that I was not going back into it and that leaving the door open would have to air it out on it's own. They disbursed someone to come out that day and check out my trailer and I was informed by their contracted maintenance personnel that they have been having problems related to formaldehyde and people getting sick.

I never thought that my major issue listed below could possibly be a direct result of formaldehyde exposure from living in my FEMA trailer at the time. But then after all of this time of hearing and reading about the numerous deaths and health issues concerning others who have been living in their FEMA trailers I began to have my concerns. In the beginning, I was commuting back and forth for work and was only in my trailer a few nights a week but I noticed that I had a cough and when I would leave it would go away. I then became sick with upper respiratory infections in November of 2006, December 2006, January of 2007 and again in late April of 2007. Remembering even in between these dates, I never really felt like I was well. I always felt tired as though my body was trying to come down with an illness of some sort.

On the evening of 5/17/07, I began to experience extreme pressure in my head (similar to congestion, or my not being able to pop my ears after departing from an airplane), then I noticed an excruciating loud noise in my head coupled by extreme dizziness and shortly after I learned that I could not hear anything from right ear. This came on suddenly with no warning signs. I went to an otolarynologist on 5/18/07. He ran a series of tests, CT scan, MRI, hearing, auditory, etc. He began treating me with high dose antibiotics for 10 days, acyclovir for 7 days, predinisone, antivert, nasonex, allfen, zanax and ambien CR. He asked me if I'd had any recent bouts with sinus problems or upper respiratory problems. I explained to him that I had and gave him a description of how I'd been feeling. He told me that due to the recent upper respiratory infections, I must have had a virus or something that settled into my inner ear which caused these damages. The auditory tests have shown only slight improvement in my hearing. But to date, I am still experiencing all of the symptoms daily.

At the present time, I currently have another upper respiratory infection and I am on a very high dose of antibiotics again.

I am very concerned that my problems could be caused due to my exposure of formaldehyde in my FEMA trailer. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss this with someone from the Sierra Club to learn in more detail what I should do in regards to testing, etc. and what steps I should take to resolve this most serious and urgent matter. This has affected my ability to work as well as my entire lifestyle. I look forward to hearing from someone as soon as possible; I can be reached by email or my phone number is 228-860-0000.

Thanks so very much,

Natalie J. Olier'

Note: After posting this message Natalie tested her FEMA trailer. It came in at .41 ppm, one of highest levels of formaldehyde we have seen in any of the FEMA trailers tested. This trailer was a Travelstar by Starcraft manufactured in Nov. 2005 and delivered in Dec. 2005 to Nathalie.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Man chooses shed over FEMA trailer

Note this excerpt from an article in the Sun Herald just before Christmas. This man chose to live in a shed rather than be poisoned by his FEMA trailer:

Cherry, a life-long resident of Moss Point, had such severe water and wind damage to his home that it had to be demolished. He received a FEMA trailer, but headaches and nosebleeds caused him to move out.

"We found Mr. Cherry living in an 8-by-10-foot shed that had also been flooded but was still standing," said Carla Poole, Rebuild case coordinator.

This isn't an isolated case. I know one family who moved into a shed because their young daughter threw up every time she went into the FEMA trailer. In another case, a man was asked why he was living in a tent next to his FEMA trailer and he said, "Because my FEMA trailer is killing me."

People who have moved out of their FEMA trailers but are still sick from formaldehyde poisoning probably wish they had stayed in a tent or shed rather than have permanent health problems and a higher risk of cancer.