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.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
A response to Sherry: I don't know if RV dealers are required by law to discuss and disclose formaldehyde risks or if just having the notice posted inside hidden behind the hot water heater or in vanity cabinet is considered adequate "consumer protection," but I would certainly look into that - can she get her money back because of lack of disclosure? ... as well as if there are laws that allow conditional or non-conditional returns within certain number of days or limited number of months ... They will likely argue that these vehicles are recreational and not meant for full-time or long-term habitation which was one of the manufacturers arguments regarding the travel trailers they sold to FEMA (while knowing full-well that's how FEMA intended to use them ...) Meanwhile, open all the windows (especially at night while sleeping), run the AC, try to stay outside as much as possible, use "green" septic tank cleaner because the usual septic tank cleaner is made with formaldehyde - avoid using bug spray inside, don't smoke inside ... some plants are supposed to be better at absorbing formaldehyde etc while others argue to avoid indoor plants cuz they increase indoor humidity ... Other culprits could be the chemicals that they use to make things fire retardant which can often make animals, people, sick. There are VOC's in carpets so maybe covering furniture with allergen proofing sheet or mattress cover might help. Remove any carpet that came with the vehicle ... Another thing to look at would be hydrogen sulfide off-gassing if their septic tank connection is not deep enough. Basically I would say start building alternative dwelling and get out of the there ... it might be ok for someone else but if she is sensitive to formaldehyde or other chemicals off-gassing, while the off-gassing may decrease as months pass, as we have seen even 10 year old trailers often still tested with significantly elevated formaldehyde levels, and chemical sensitivities tend to get worse not better ... Dr. Heidi Sinclair
Hello..I would like some advise on what to do as a consumer that purchased a recreational vehicle. I planned on it being my main residence. We have had it a little over a month now..at first I was just sneezing and achy and not really thinking it was anything more than a cold. I went about my days. The other day out of the blue my nose started bleeding. I have never in my 52 years had a bloody nose. As I was cleaning the vanity sink I found a warning about the building materials in my RV. Who looks there to find out they just paid 30 grand for formaldehyde exposure? What am I to do now? This is my home. I am getting sicker by the day. I have no medical coverage and I blame the RV sales for not disclosing this and pushing us into this trailer. Please advise me on what I can do. I am not feeling well at all. I spend 24\7 here in my home. I rarely leave. I live on the lake. I will be awaiting your response and I am thanking you in advance. Sherry Dear Sherry, You could purchase a test kit to see what you are dealing with regarding formaldehyde levels. Some states have lemon laws that you can use to try to get your money back. You might contact your state attorney general. It does sound a lot like the kind of health problems people get when exposed to formaldehyde. So sorry you are experiencing this...it is shame after the Katrina trailer experiences identified this as a significant problem that still little is done to make sure indoor air is good in RVs and other structures.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Emily Willingham's says in a Forbes article responding to the Kristoff piece on formaldehyde in the New York Times that there is no "conspiracy" to suppress the info that formaldehyde is carcinogenic. See http://www.forbes.com/sites/emilywillingham/2012/10/10/is-industry-conspiring-to-suppress-that-formaldehyde-is-carcinogenic/ Kristoff's NYT piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/opinion/sunday/kristof-the-cancer-lobby.html Here is a response from Paul Stewart to Willingham's article. Paul is the former FEMA trailer resident who was the first to identify high formaldehyde levels in FEMA trailers when he tested after his wife woke up with a nose bleed gasping for air): Very interesting piece of literature!! I don't think that it's a conspiracy, just that the industry has used legal and legislative tactics to legalize the poisoning of millions of Americans. I actually think it would be better if this was a cover-up. At least under those conditions the criminal efforts used to cover-up the dangers would likely be limited to just a few corrupt individuals. In this case, it is an entire industry and government machine that have conspired to keep this inexpensive toxin in the stream of commerce. As we have trumpeted since the beginning of this campaign, the government and chemical industry have determined that the alleged benefits of formaldehyde outweigh the human costs. Why do we, as a people, allow our government, driven by industry, to place a monetary value on the lives of its citizens?? The real question is, if we are actually a country “by the people and for the people,” how could we allow this to happened to our loved ones, and why do we place such little value on our own lives? Have we really been so beaten down that we have willing given that responsibility over to an industry that is profit driven or a government that is run by the 1 percent? Have we really become so disenfranchised with the political process that we care more about birth certificates than we do about the health and safety of our families? This is the real tragedy and it goes much deeper than any conspiracy theory. The American people have given up on themselves and our challenge is turning that around and re-empowering the people to take back their health, their government, and their future!! Paul
Monday, October 8, 2012
Good opinion column in the Times about efforts to continue to place the profits of chemical manufacturers over the health of Americans... http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/opinion/sunday/kristof-the-cancer-lobby.html OP-ED COLUMNIST The Cancer Lobby By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF Published: October 6, 2012 WHO knew that carcinogens had their own lobby in Washington? Don’t believe me? Just consider formaldehyde, which is found in everything from nail polish to kitchen countertops, fabric softeners to carpets. Largely because of its use in building materials, we breathe formaldehyde fumes when we’re inside our homes. Just one other fact you should know: According to government scientists, it causes cancer. The chemical industry is working frantically to suppress that scientific consensus — because it fears “public confusion.” Big Chem apparently worries that you might be confused if you learned that formaldehyde caused cancer of the nose and throat, and perhaps leukemia as well. The industry’s strategy is to lobby Congress to cut off money for the Report on Carcinogens, a 500-page consensus document published every two years by the National Institutes of Health, containing the best information about what agents cause cancer. If that sounds like shooting the messenger, well, it is. “The way the free market is supposed to work is that you have information,” said Lynn Goldman, dean of the school of public health at George Washington University. “They’re trying to squelch that information.” The larger issue is whether the federal government should be a watchdog for public health, or a lap dog for industry. When Mitt Romney denounces President Obama for excessive regulation, these are the kinds of issues at stake. “Formaldehyde is known to be a human carcinogen,” declared the most recent Report on Carcinogens, published in 2011. Previous editions had listed it only as a suspected carcinogen, but the newer report, citing many studies of human and animal exposure to formaldehyde, made the case that it was time to stop equivocating. The chemical industry was outraged, because it sells lots of formaldehyde that ends up in people’s homes, often without their knowledge. “Nearly all homes had formaldehyde concentrations that exceeded guidelines for cancer and chronic irritation,” according to a 2009 survey by the California Energy Commission. ,,,