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.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Iowa FEMA trailers making people sick

KGAN television in Cedar Rapids Iowa has done some great investigative reporting testing 20 FEMA housing units (park models and mobile homes) and reporting on people who have been getting sick. How sad that yet another time disaster victims have placed in unsafe housing and then FEMA has denied the problem and blamed it on the people int he trailers. (See the link to the AP article under the news section on the left of this page.)

Check out this website for more info:


It's not just Linn County with formaldehyde fears.
We've been getting plenty of emails from concerned flood victims in other parts of Eastern Iowa.
CBS 2’s Robert Price has more.

"Just barely breathing...not moving around enough air to even be able to talk...the panic that goes along with it."

This is how Paul Schiel describes his failing health...
Coughing, trouble breathing, migraines...
All problems he and his wife Kathy never had before moving into a FEMA trailer.

"I never had sore throat, itchy eyes before...never My wife gets terrible migraines so bad she can't sleep. I want outta here is what I want," said Schiel.

Paul has emphysema....his wife has had cancer twice...they're not in great health...but they can feel it getting worse.

"I've had breathing problems occasionally...but not this severe. I probably should have been in the hospital."

Paul has been on oxygen for six years now, but for the most part he says his breathing has been under control...that is, until he moved into his FEMA trailer. His health is so poor now that for a while he couldn't even walk ten feet from his couch to the bathroom.

"Just sitting right here for about a week not being able to move, not being able to talk because the breathing was so bad...I think it was formaldehyde."

Paul and his wife haven't called FEMA yet...and while they want to see something done, they have mixed feelings.

"I'd like to see them retest, but I don't know what good it'd do...where are they going to put ya?
I wouldn't want to move again."

Friday, October 17, 2008

TX officials want toxic trailers for Hurricane Ike victims

Some elected leaders in Texas want FEMA trailer trailers even if they are high in formaldehyde. See link to an article about this under the news links on the lower right of this page.
The story says: Some local elected officials are downright furious with FEMA because FEMA will not put travel trailers on the property of homeowners who can’t live in their houses because of damage from Hurricane Ike.
The inability to get temporary housing back into cities in Orange County has caused great hardships for the families and headaches for local employers and city officials who are worried that their workforce will never return home from cities where they have relocated. The longer people are forced to stay away, the less likely they are to return.
…FEMA’s failure to plan for and provide full size FEMA trailers, which are far safer than the formaldehyde-laced travel trailers, is inexcusable. Local and state officials are betting that toxic trailers can be safely used as a short term solution while FEMA acquires and sets up safer trailers.
History has shown betting on quick FEMA action is not a safe bet when the health of families is concerned.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

toxic plywood gives off formaldehyde


I had been collecting scrap pieces of plywood discarded at various places and keeping them in my room to paint pictures upon. Then about 2 weeks ago I came across a warning about formaldehyde in plywood, in a PBS program on the subject of Green Building. So I got rid of the plywood I had been collecting. This morning I realized the itching in my eyes had subsided and decided to do more research on the web and found the videos about blue babies and dead pets.

The issue goes beyond trailers because plywood and particle board are used universally in home construction, for underflooring, kitchen cabinets and so on. So it's crucial to get the word out and start promoting the manufacture of formaldehyde-free plywood and particle board.

Ray, St. Louis M, hrpch@hotmail.com

Monday, October 6, 2008

House Committee finds CDC failed to protect public health

The House Committee on Science and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight released an important report today. The sub committee here is continuing to try to place blame where it is deserved, and protect the ATSDR whistleblower Dr. Chris DeRosa. It is important to note how many meetings ATSDR had on the formaldehyde issue from Jan. 2007 to July 2007 and then did nothing about it--with the result that tens of thousands of America families continued to be exposed to high levels of formaldehyde.

October 6, 2008
Subcommittee Report Finds CDC Has Failed to Protect the Public Health

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the House Committee on Science and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight released a staff report that details the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR) handling of its response to high levels of formaldehyde in travel trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Based upon Subcommittee staff interviews with agency officials and ATSDR’s own internal documentation, the majority report offers a comprehensive account of ATSDR’s mishandling of this public health crisis.

The report finds that: “The agency’s incomplete and inadequate handling of their public health assessment, the failure to quickly and effectively correct their scientific mistakes and their reluctance to take appropriate corrective actions was all marked by notable inattention and inaction on the part of ATSDR’s senior leadership. As a result, tens of thousands of Hurricane Katrina and Rita families living in trailers with elevated levels of formaldehyde were kept in harm’s way for at least one year longer than necessary.”

...Howard Frumkin, the Director of ATSDR, said he did not really focus on the formaldehyde issue until July 2007, when a congressional hearing drew his attention to it. Yet, documentation provided to the Subcommittee after the Subcommittee’s April 1st hearing reveals that Dr. Frumkin had at least 13 separate meetings on the formaldehyde issue between January 2007 and July 2007.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

FEMA not immune!!

Chock one up for the good guys! The AP reported Oct. 4 that a federal judge has ruled FEMA is not immune from lawsuits claiming many Gulf Coast hurricane victims were exposed to potentially dangerous fumes while living in trailers it provided.
U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt cited evidence that the FEMA delayed investigating complaints about formaldehyde levels in its trailers because it might be held legally responsible. The preservative can cause breathing problems and is classified as a carcinogen.
"Engelhardt said FEMA learned of the formaldehyde concerns around March 2006, several months after Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005, but responded by "sticking their heads in the sand" rather than ordering air-quality tests," the AP article said.
Click under news links for the entire story.

The next really big development in this case is going to be whether or not the 30,000 people who have sued FEMA and trailer manufacturers can be considered a class action. FEMA and the manufacturers oppose that, and want each case to be heard separately. Trying to kill class action lawsuits is a strategy of industries to avoid responsibility when they poison people.