New Orleans, Louisiana (JusticeNewssFlash.com – News Report) – The survivors of brutal Hurricane Katrina were left with no homes, cars, stores and even family. In an attempt to bring peace and relief to the disaster area, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began selling trailers in 2006 for the victims to temporarily live – a nice gesture except for the fact that they were contaminated with formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is an invisible gas that is known to cause cancer. It can also cause other illnesses ranging from nosebleeds to chronic bronchitis.
The 86,000 families, who are still living in the FEMA trailers across the Gulf, are suffering from various health problems due mainly to the toxic FEMA trailers. FEMA states that the trailers’ floors and cabinets were built with particleboard containing the chemical formaldehyde, which was also used as glue in the FEMA trailers and mobile homes. It has been reported that at least two deaths of FEMA trailer residents have been linked to formaldehyde exposure. Under hot, humid conditions, exemplified in states such as Louisiana and Mississippi, formaldehyde lets off toxic fumes, especially harmful to young lungs. The Gulf Stream Coach factory, responsible for building the trailers said that cheaper products were used due to higher costs and pressure to built more and more trailers for the victims.
It is shocking that there are no federal standards for formaldehyde. Especially when the Sierra Club tested 31 travel trailers in Mississippi and found that about 94 percent contained formaldehyde levels exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency’s limit of exposure at .1 parts per million. Many families are now suing manufacturers as FEMA attempts to offer refunds to those with the toxic trailers as further testing, investigations and corrections are made on the trailers. It is extremely disheartening to see the way the residents of Louisiana and Mississippi were treated in the wake of the disaster, yet giving away toxic trailers almost seems criminal. How could the federal government overlook this? It is truly a display of negligence and a situation where the ‘quick fix’ is not always the best.
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Jana Simard is a contributing writer for Justice News Flash with degrees in Political Science and Spanish. Born in Canada, but raised in sunny south Florida, Jana had an early passion for writing. During her high school and college years she interned at a Florida Congressman's office as well as a Rhode Island Governor and Senator's office. While in her last two years of college, Jana spent six months in Salamanca, Spain where she truly discovered her passion for writing and had her articles published in her school's newspaper. Her experience in two Providence high profile law firms has equipped her with the ability to write for Justice News Flash as a Legal Reporter.