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Thursday, 10 August 2006 07:30

Waxman to FEMA: Why are Katrina Evacuee Trailers Full of Formaldehyde Gas?

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Reps. Charlie Melancon (D-LA) and House Reform Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) sent a letter today to FEMA Director R. David Paulison demanding to know why 94% of trailers inhabited by evacuees of Hurricane Katrina contain formaldehyde gas in excess of the level considered safe by the EPA. Several trailers have more than three times above that amount, according to a Sierra Club study.

Formaldehyde, a known human carcinogen, can trigger several serious respiratory problems. The release of the toxic chemical seems to be a result of the wood used and is exacerbated by hot and humid air, meaning that exposure levels might be even higher now than they were when the tests were conducted in May.