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, July 9, 2008

Dead bodies caused high formaldehyde levels?

The Journal Gazette published an article July 8 that quoted Indiana Rep. Mark Souder as stating that the high formaldehyde levels found in FEMA trailers “are not scientific because they didn’t measure the formaldehyde that was in the air. He said the petrochemical industries located nearby or even bodies floating in floodwaters might have been factors as well.”
This is a bizarre statement. The government testing of FEMA trailers was conducted this past winter—more than two years after Katrina. There were no dead bodies in the water. Major industry sources of formaldehyde are particleboard and plywood plants, and there are none of those in the area.
I can understand Rep. Souder wanting to protect jobs in Indiana. But as someone who has worked for nearly three years with families who have had numerous, serious health problems because of exposure to high formaldehyde levels, I can tell you there has been much suffering caused by the failure of our government to regulate formaldehyde.
This is not a problem confined to FEMA trailers, nor is it a new problem. We’ve tested RVs as old as 2002 with high levels of formaldehyde. This has also been identified as a problem in mobile homes, temporary classrooms and some modular housing.
To save jobs in Indiana and elsewhere, stop the flood of cheap Chinese wood products high in formaldehyde used to manufacture housing. Encourage the RV industry to adopt safer “green chemistry” alternatives like the composite RVs that Pilgrim International is starting to manufacture.
Rep. Souder would do the most good for this industry and the country by supporting legislation to require EPA to adopt formaldehyde standards so that people can be assured when they purchase a trailer, it is safe. The reason we're in such bad shape with a systemic failure to properly regulate formaldehyde is that industry representatives have used their political clout to prevent adequate formaldehyde regulations.

Becky Gillette