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, July 3, 2008

CDC chainsaw study is out

On July 2 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the final version of their study of 519 occupied FEMA trailers and also a structural study of four RVs (I call it the chainsaw study because they ripped these trailers apart to find out where the formaldehyde was coming from). The report should be up soon at http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehhe/trailerstudy/.
The thing I found most interesting about the chainsaw study is that only one of the 45 travel trailer components tested was above the HUD standards for wood materials. This is very important because it shows that the HUD standards are far too lax. Formaldehyde levels in the travel trailers in the chainsaw study were VERY high ranging from 310 ppb to 789 ppb (0.31 ppm to 0.789 ppm). And these are RVs that are two to three years old!
CDC’s press release says, “But the findings are only applicable to those trailers distributed by FEMA in the Gulf Coast Region; they do not apply to other trailers in use elsewhere in the country.” But in fact this is a widespread problem with trailers for sale to the general public. People are buying these kinds of RVs and finding out too late that they can’t use them because of such high formaldehyde levels that they experience burning eyes, bloody noses, headaches and breathing problems.
While HUD doesn’t regulate travel trailers, it does regulate mobile homes. And the CDC testing also showed unacceptably high formaldehyde levels in many of the mobile homes. HUD should move quickly to strengthen its formaldehyde emission limits from particleboard and plywood. The present standard is woefully inadequate. Becky