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.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Skeptical about cheap FEMA trailers?

My wife and I have been on arduous quest looking for a travel trailer to replace our old pop-up. Recently we came across these FEMA trailers. Skeptical because of the prices, I did some research, and found your article. What I read scared me to death, and I wouldn’t want my wife or kids to set foot in one of these even if they were free.
But it has also set off some concerns. Some of the trailers I’ve seen on these lots are known brands that are also for sale on Craig’s list and local papers by private individuals.
Was there a particular brand of trailers with this problem? Are the levels of formaldehyde high on just these trailers or is this something I need to be concerned with this buying a used camper that is not one of FEMA’s.
Eloy J. Zayas
Dear Eloy:
You should be concerned as this is an industry wide problem. It is not just confined to old FEMA trailers, although those may be worse. According to government testing, Pilgrim, Keystone and Gulfstream were significantly higher that other travel trailers. Cavaliers were significantly higher than other types of mobile homes.
Part of the justification for poisoning the hurricane victims is that “everybody builds trailers this way.” We’ve tested trailers as much as 10 years old that still have toxic formaldehyde levels. The problem doesn’t always go away with time, as the industry would like you to believe.
There are new green trailers http://www.goevergreenrv.com/, but I think they are pretty expensive. The old pop up may still be your best bet as they are well ventilated.
Becky Gillette

Staying in travel trailer making worker sick

I bought a travel trailer probably 3 months age and since I have been staying in it for work, I have been feeling sick every time I'm in it. I have a sore throat, congestion, and have burning eyes every morning when I wake up. When I go home to stay at my house during the weekends, it goes away. There is also a kind of watery smell in the trailer. Do you think this is mold, and if so what can I do about it?
Shane

Dear Shane: Those symptoms are consistent with formaldehyde poisoning. I would get it tested. Depending on how old it is, and if it is a former FEMA trailer, mold is also likely. It is pretty clear when staying inside makes you sick, and you go somewhere else in weekend you get better, that something in that environment is making you sick.

If you have no option of anywhere else to stay, keep the trailers as well ventilated as possible: windows open, vent fans on, especially vent any moisture. But I can’t say even then that you will be safe as the govt. testing of these trailers showed the best ventilation and air filters on the market didn’t reduce formaldehyde levels enough to be safe.

Becky