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.

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.

Jennifer Donelson, Southaven,
Southaven, 228-265-2996