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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
AP reports that a class-action settlement agreement has been reached to resolve nearly all the remaining court claims over allegations that FEMA trailers exposed Gulf Coast residents to hazardous formaldehyde fumes after Hurricane Katrina. This is a sad ending to a shameful chapter in our nation's history where hundreds of thousands of Katrina and Rita victims were placed in unsafe housing that made them sick, and killed some of them. Since the lawyers get half of this settlement, and there are 60,000 plaintiffs, that works out to $123 per person--less than the cost of one emergency room visit. And many families had multiple ER visits in addition to other health care costs. Kids missed school. Adults missed work. The tragedy continues as these toxic trailers have been dumped on the open market despite the widespread testing that showed high formaldehyde levels. I get calls or emails a couple times a week from families who have moved into the FEMA trailers sold at auction who are now sick. These trailers have also been "given" to the Native Americans. To sum it up, FEMA took people at their most vulnerable and put them in housing that sickened and killed, denied the problems for years, delayed testing, and then even after testing confirmed high formaldehyde levels decided it was okay to sell over 100,000 of these to the general public. And now FEMA is back up to its old tricks buying FEMA trailers without testing for formaldehyde first. Meanwhile, the lawyers who mismanaged the cases are getting their money out of it, while the people get the shaft.