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.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

MS Cottages test high in formaldehyde

The Mississippi Cottages developed as an alternative to the toxic Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailers and mobile homes may have unacceptably high formaldehyde levels themselves, according to test results released by the Sierra Club.

Responding to concerns about travel trailers being cramped, uncomfortable and making disaster victims sick, FEMA granted $281 million to the State of Mississippi to develop FEMA’s Alternative Housing Program to develop safer and more comfortable emergency housing for victims of natural disasters. The contracts granted by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), however, went to some of the same manufacturers that produced the toxic FEMA mobile homes.

“With the start of hurricane season upon us, all we ask is for safe, healthy, emergency housing,” said Becky Gillette, formaldehyde campaign director for Sierra Club. “The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has plans to test the Mississippi Cottages, and we urge the agency to require manufacturers to remediate any units with high formaldehyde levels.”

Sierra Club, working with WLOX ABC Channel 13 in Gulfport, recently tested five Mississippi Cottages using kits from Advanced Chemical Sensors. Three of the Cottages came in over 0.1 parts per million (ppm), the level at which the EPA and American Lung Association say health effects can occur. The other two Cottages tested above the long-term exposure limits recommended by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

The Mississippi Cottages are larger units that were designed to be cleaner and safer than the infamous FEMA trailers and mobile homes. But the test results suggest that the new Cottages may not have solved the formaldehyde problem. Families currently live in at least 2,500 Cottages, and many more still live in FEMA trailers or mobile homes, including those that have been purchased by the occupants. Many of these people are sick from high formaldehyde levels.

FEMA had announced that it would only purchase emergency housing that tested below 0.016 ppm—much less than what Sierra Club has found in the new Cottages. FEMA made that decision after testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed high formaldehyde levels in FEMA trailers, recreational vehicles and mobile homes (see http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehhe/trailerstudy/.