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, 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.