Toxic trailers that are currently being used to house Hurricane Katrina survivors are now being sold as scrap by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Already, lawmakers are concerned that these trailers might be used in housing projects, despite the fact that they may be contaminated with formaldehyde.
FEMA trailers were given as temporary housing facilities in 2005 after many people were displaced from their homes in Mississippi and Louisiana. By 2006 FEMA was getting reports from field workers that residents were getting sick from the air in these toxic trailers. E-mails that were uncovered during a congressional investigation showed that FEMA lawyers adviced FEMA not to test the trailers because "doing so would implyt FEMA’s ownership of the issue".
Finally, last year, FEMA and the CDC conducted tests of 519 trailers. The tests confirmed that the trailers posed a serious threat to the residents that still lived inside of them. After announcing their findings, CDC urged FEMA to move residents from the toxic trailers as soon as they could.
So far, FEMA has identified around 10,000 travel trailers that could be designated as scrap and sold. FEMA plans on making the scrap available through the GSA (U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) website. The trailers are currently being shown intact on the website.
Formaldehyde is a chemical that has been linked to cancer. It can cause several other conditions, from nose bleeds to bronchitis. Formaldehyde is also listed as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Have you come into contact with one of these trailers? Please, let us know!