FEMA Agrees to Test Trailers for Formaldehyde Levels
People living in trailers supplied by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after hurricanes savaged the Gulf Coast in 2005 can file a request to get their units tested for formaldehyde contamination, the Associated Press reports.
This decision comes after results of testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that fumes from 519 trailers and mobile homes in Louisiana and Mississippi averaged about five times higher than levels found in most modern homes. In some trailers, the levels were nearly 40 times higher, prompting concerns that the residents could come down with breathing problems, the A.P. reported.
FEMA provided about 120,000 travel trailers to victims of the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2006, some occupants began reporting headaches and nosebleeds. The complaints were linked to formaldehyde, a colorless gas with a pungent smell used in the production of plywood and resins, according to the A.P.
FEMA announced late last week that it would allow free testing for anyone living in government-issued trailers associated with the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita, as well as people living in trailers associated with tornadoes, floods and other disasters during the past two years.
"We do not want people exposed to this for very much longer," Mike McGeehin, director of a CDC division that focuses on environmental hazards, told the wire service. About 200 trailers and mobile homes would be tested each week, FEMA officials told the A.P..
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