Thursday, December 13, 2007
FEMA Trailer Testing to begin
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will begin testing Dec. 21 for formaldehyde in a sampling of trailers FEMA provided for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, FEMA and the CDC announced today.
The testing is scheduled to take 35 days, when results will be shared with residents. A final report will be made public in mid-May, the agencies said.
Dr. Henry Falk, director of CDC's Coordinating Center for Environmental Health and Injury Prevention, said 500 trailers will be tested. He said that number was chosen because it allows a representative sample of 11 types of trailers by different manufacturers. Scientists, accompanied by FEMA officials, will go to trailers in Louisiana and Mississippi proportional to the number of occupied trailers in each state.
There are about 46,000 families in FEMA travel trailers and mobile homes across the Gulf Coast.
It's about freaking time, y'all.
August '06 from The homeland stupidity website
In Mississippi alone, FEMA has received 46 complaints from people who say they have been affected by symptoms of formaldehyde exposure, including eye, nose, and throat irritation, nausea and breathing difficulties. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, formaldehyde has been found to cause cancer in rats and may cause cancer in humans.
The Sierra Club conducted tests of 31 FEMA travel trailers and found that 29 of them had unsafe levels of formaldehyde, according to a report (PDF) published on the group’s Web site.
A tragic story about the affect of this toxic substance's tragic affects were detailed in a Gambit story in July.
Indeed, the story of toxic levels of formaldehyde in the 120,000 trailers that FEMA supplied to Katrina and Rita evacuees -- and the agency's cover-up of the crisis -- is still unfolding. At a minimum, more than 5,000 internal emails, many made public on July 19 by the House Committee on Oversight and Government, reveal what committee chairman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) calls "an official policy of premeditated ignorance."
CBS news received an envelope stuffed with documents from the FEMA.
What they found was quite interesting:
a standard part of the job description package for most federal jobs..... entitled "FEMA Job Hazard Analysis" and lists, in helpful chart form, the activities involved in the position. The position is Logistics Material Specialist, Trailer In-Bound Inspection (the guy or gal who inspects a brand-new trailer before it is sent off to a needy family in the Gulf).
Under the "Physical Hazard" for those entering a new trailer it says, "Formaldehyde off gassing..."
The potential injury: Cancer.
From Ellathebella over at reelrelief dot com
I spent the weekend working in Hancock County. While researching air quality issues, with the help of two stalwart volunteers, I spent about sixteen hours over two days in FEMA trailers, a FEMA mobile home, a newly constructed home and a MEMA cottage. Before the second day of work was over, we were all suffering from nausea, headaches, bloodshot, puffy eyes and wheezing in our lungs. Having left that environment, we are all feeling better. We had the option to leave for more healthful housing, thanks to the generous folks at St. Rose Outreach and Recovery and D'Iberville Volunteers Foundation. Even if money were not an issue, which it is, there are not enough buildings for everyone on the Gulf Coast to leave the trailers.
If we felt that sick after two days, how must it feel to live in that environment day after day after day?
It has been 27 months since Katrina hit. I would challenge anyone on Capitol Hill to spend 27 days, let alone 27 months, living in this uncertain, unhealthful environment and say that enough money has been spent on Gulf Coast recovery.
FEMA, acting "responsibly" issued this press release in July of 2007
From the Sea Coast Echo website
A Bay St. Louis resident who worked in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency following Hurricane Katrina alleges the embattled agency knew of potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde in trailers in December 2005 and the death of a Diamondhead newborn may be connected.
A congressional hearing held last month have resulted in changes to many of FEMA's procedures, including distributing formaldehyde information, revising guidelines of swapping trailers to temporally halting sales and deployment of travel trailers.
From Food Music Justice dot com
Quotes from a 7/20/07 New York Times article about formaldehyde-laden FEMA trailers provided to evacuees :
“We were not formaldehyde experts.”
- R. David Paulison. FEMA Adminstrator.
“Do not initiate any testing until we give the O.K. Once you get results the clock starts running on our duty to respond to them.”
- Unnamed FEMA lawyer sent this e-mail in response to concerns expressed by field staff about toxic levels of formaldehyde reported in FEMA trailers.
How do these bastards sleep at night?