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, 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.

Jennifer Donelson, Southaven,
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.


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


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.


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.