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.
Monday, July 9, 2018
The following New York Magazine article says EPA is hiding proof the formaldehyde causes cancer During a Senate hearing in late January, Ed Markey asked then-EPA director Scott Pruitt about a little rumor that he’d overheard. “It’s my understanding,” the Massachusetts senator said, “that the EPA has finalized its conclusion that formaldehyde causes leukemia and other cancers and that [the] completed new assessment is ready to be released for public review, but is being held up.” “You know, my understanding is similar to yours,” Pruitt replied. Formaldehyde is one of the most ubiquitous industrial chemicals in the United States. It’s in much of the wooden furniture that Americans sit in, the body wash they clean themselves with — and, for those who live in the vicinity of a major refinery, the air that they breathe. And here, the director of the agency responsible for protecting the American people from toxic chemicals was saying, under oath, that he was vaguely aware of a report linking formaldehyde to a variety of terminal illnesses. If that report were released — and its findings independently verified by the National Academies of Sciences — then the EPA would strengthen restrictions on the chemical’s use, while cancer patients could draw on the findings in class-action lawsuits. The effect of all this would be to force industry to reduce its reliance on formaldehyde — and thus, to reduce the number of Americans who suffer from the ravages of leukemia, nose and throat cancer, and a variety of less severe respiratory ailments. See rest of story at http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/the-epa-is-hiding-proof-that-formaldehyde-causes-leukemia.html
Monday, May 28, 2018
Very sad to see EPA once again working for industry instead of the people... Pressured by industry, U.S. EPA slows formaldehyde study release Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from the chemical industry, has delayed release of a study detailing cancer risks from formaldehyde, according to internal communications seen by Reuters, potentially keeping important health information from the public. Top EPA officials have declined to review the study or be briefed by its experts on the findings, the internal communications showed. The EPA already lists formaldehyde, used in building materials like plywood and foam insulation, as a probable carcinogen. The new report is expected for the first time to detail its links to leukemia. The report, an update of the EPA’s existing human health assessment of the widely used chemical, was completed by scientists from the agency’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) late last year and must go through a months-long internal review process before it can be issued to the public for comment. The delay could further heighten scrutiny of EPA, already fending off complaints that it and the White House considered blocking a study on water contamination by PFOA and PFOS, chemicals used in Teflon and firefighting. Politico reported on May 14 that a Trump administration aide had warned release of that study would cause a “public relations nightmare.” The Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit science advocacy group, said delaying the report fits a broader pattern of the agency’s political leadership interfering with public health research. “By sweeping scientific assessments under the rug, EPA fails to fulfill its mission of protecting public health. The public has the right to know about public health threats,” said Yogin Kothari, UCS Washington director. The EPA told Congress in early February it expected to start the agency review process for the formaldehyde assessment “shortly,” according to the EPA staff communications. But in follow-up communications between agency employees in late April, one career staffer wrote that EPA Chief of Staff Ryan Jackson, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum, and Wehrum’s deputy Clint Woods had not given their permission to initiate the review and had refused offers from EPA scientists to brief them on it. “No office in the EPA is interested in formaldehyde,” the staffer wrote. The 60-to-90-day agency review and a subsequent inter-agency review of a similar duration must happen before the study can be issued for public comment. Prior to the communications, the chemistry industry’s main lobby group, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), had been pressuring the EPA to avoid drawing links between formaldehyde and leukemia in its assessment. EPA’s deputy assistant administrator of the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Nancy Beck, previously served as director of regulatory science policy at the ACC. Beck is not named in the communication.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Judge Invalidates EPA’s Delay of Formaldehyde Limits for Wood Products Read The Ruling Here SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Today, a federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) illegally delayed a rule intended to protect public health from formaldehyde. As mandated by Congress, EPA set limits on the amounts of hazardous formaldehyde gas that can be released from various types of manufactured wood products made and sold in the United States, including materials used in cabinets, flooring and furniture and in emergency housing and travel trailers. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen that also causes and exacerbates respiratory ailments. Under the rule finalized in 2016, wood products had to comply with the limits in December 2017. The Trump administration extended the compliance deadline to December 2018. The New Orleans-based group A Community Voice and the Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit challenging the delay. The case was filed October 31, 2017, in U.S. District Court in Oakland, California. In today’s ruling, Judge Jeffrey White found “the Delay Rule is beyond the scope of the EPA’s authority and is not in accordance with the Formaldehyde Act,” which required the formaldehyde limits. The delay “fails to satisfy the stated purpose of the Act,” which he described as “the expeditious implementation of emission standards designed to protect both the public health of vulnerable populations” and domestic manufacturers who are, in large part, meeting the formaldehyde limits from imported goods that are not. The decision is especially good news for the many Gulf Coast residents who, in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, were provided emergency shelter by FEMA in mobile homes and travel trailers that ended up causing serious health problems added to the dislocation from the storms. “There is no simple, ‘long-term fix’ for the side effects of formaldehyde poisoning, since the poisoning begins immediately,” said A Community Voice Vice President Vanessa Gueringer. “So, the Formaldehyde Emissions Standards must be put in place immediately. We have waited far too long.” The Sierra Club has been an advocate for these standards for a decade, in dialogue with such groups as the Composite Panel Association and the nonprofit National Center for Healthy Housing to make California’s tough, state formaldehyde standards the federal requirement. "Today's long-overdue decision is an important step in ensuring the health and safety of Americans recovering from disasters,” said Leslie Fields, director of the Sierra Club’s Environmental Justice and Community Partnerships Program. "The EPA's own mission is to protect Americans from significant risks to human health, and these formaldehyde standards do just that. It's time for EPA to do its job." “At long last, the EPA will protect people from hazardous formaldehyde in everyday furnishings and building materials,” Earthjustice Attorney Patti Goldman added. “The Court enforced the law and put an end to EPA’s moves to delay complying with the deadline Congress set for banning formaldehyde emissions.” The Court has directed the parties to confer about the timely implementation of the Court’s order and report to the Court by March 9, 2018. ### Formaldehyde: A Toxic Timeline 2005: Gulf Coast residents displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita begin reporting serious health problems linked to high formaldehyde emissions in travel trailers provided for emergency housing by FEMA. 2006: Indoor air quality tests by the Sierra Club of 31 of these dwellings in Mississippi and Louisiana find excessive formaldehyde levels in 96 percent of them. 2007: FEMA works with the Centers for Disease Control, which finds unsafe levels of formaldehyde in one-third of the FEMA trailers tested. FEMA adopts “Interim Direction on Use of Temporary Housing Units,” requiring that people who complain about formaldehyde-related problems be given other housing options rather than a replacement trailer. 2008: California adopts limits on formaldehyde emissions from wood products, to be phased in over the next several years. 2009: A report by the U.S. Office of the Inspector General details the problems getting FEMA to do its own tests and mitigate the complaints. Among the conclusions: “It is clear that the lack of a definitive, consistent, and well-promulgated FEMA policy resulted in some cases of problem trailers not being handled consistently.” 2010: Congress passes the Formaldehyde Emission Standards for Composite Wood Products Act of 2010, requiring the EPA to adopt California’s formaldehyde emission standards for wood products. Congress directs EPA to require compliance with these standards in 2013, along with provisions for testing, labeling and enforcement. 2016: In July, the EPA signs—and in December, it publishes—the new rule. The rule’s effective date is Feb. 10, 2017, with compliance required for most wood products by December 12, 2017. 2017: The EPA delays the rule’s effective date until May 22, 2017. In late September, EPA extends the compliance deadline for a full year, so that compliance will not be required until December 12, 2018.