About ToxicTrailers.com

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

Tuesday, 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.