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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, June 22, 2011

Family sick in manufactured home

I have some concerns about my home. I have four children, three of whom are still under 18 and live at home. About two weeks after move in I saw a health notice on the side of the fridge. I was concerned and did some research. I was a little nervous about it but we had suffered from two house fires in two years and I just didn't want to believe that something could really be wrong. Stupid, I know, but we had suffered a lot.
Anyway, during this last winter my kids and I have been sick. Mostly upper respiratory illnesses but my boys have been sick also and they have always been healthy. My youngest son came down with pneumonia. We went on vacation this last March and I noticed that none of us had a runny stuffy nose, our eyes didn't water and my daughter’s persistent cough went away.
I bought a formaldehyde test and the results came back at 0.062 ppm. Some websites say that isn't that bad some say it can be. I am wondering if it is, especially since we had the windows open and fans blowing while we did the test. Can you please send me information as to what I should do and if I should be concerned.

Tonya: Your family has all the classic symptoms of formaldehyde poisoning—including getting better when you leave the home environment. Formaldehyde outgassing can go up dramatically with heat and humidity. So, you can test with the fans on and windows open at get a relatively low number. However, is that how your family normally lives? And did you do this during the hot weather?
I would be concerned about 0.062 especially with fans on and windows open. It is above what you should be exposed to for 1-14 days.

Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) [US DHHS, CDC]
Minimal Risk Levels (MRL)
Acute MRL: 0.04 ppm (1-14 days exposure)
Intermediate duration MRL: 0.03 ppm (>14-364 days exposure)
Chronic duration MRL: 0.008 ppm (365 or more days exposure)

Health Canada
Residential Indoor Air Quality Guidelines
One hour exposure limit: 0.1 ppm
Eight hour exposure limit; 0.04 ppm