Monday, February 18, 2008

FEMA: the Formaldehyde Enabling and Management Agency

About ready to grab FEMA by the throat after it's craptacular performances over the last few years? Well, choke on this.

More than two years after residents of FEMA trailers deployed along the Mississippi Gulf Coast began complaining of breathing difficulties, nosebleeds and persistent headaches, U.S. health officials announced Thursday that long-awaited government tests found potentially hazardous levels of toxic formaldehyde gas in both travel trailers and mobile homes provided by the agency.


Levels of formaldehyde gas in 519 trailer and mobile homes tested in Louisiana and Mississippi were - on average - about five times what people are exposed to in most modern homes, the CDC reported. In some trailers, the levels were nearly 40 times customary exposure levels, raising fears that residents could suffer respiratory problems and potentially other long-term health effects, it said.


The reason for the persistently high levels of formaldehyde in the units has never been explained, though some experts have speculated that manufacturers may have run out of “low-emission” building products in the rush to meet post-hurricane orders for thousands of travel trailers and mobile homes.

To their credit, the Agency investigated when citizens in their care complained of health problems. But the study, conducted by the Center for Disease Control, started in late 2005, and has taken this long to come out. Meanwhile, the Sierra Club did their own tests in 2006, and made similar findings. But "FEMA officials initially dismissed the environmental group's testing, saying the trailers conformed to industry standards."

Heckuva job, there, folks. Nice to know we've got you looking out for us.


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