FEMA to Move Families, Citing Toxins in Trailers

High formaldehyde levels found in lodging of hurricane survivors
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2008 8:00 PM CST
FEMA chief David Paulison listens to a question with Dr. Julie Gerberding, director Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as they speak to the media about toxic levels in FEMA trailers in New Orleans...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – FEMA will move thousands of survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita out of their government-supplied trailers because of possibly dangerous levels of formaldehyde, the Times-Picayune reports. Those at greatest risk, including those with current health problems, will be moved into apartments and hotels in the next two weeks, with the rest to follow.

FEMA and CDC officials say that none of the approximately 100,000 residents affected are at great risk and that the action is meant to err on the side of caution. Tests showed higher-than-usual levels of formaldehyde, used to preserve wood, in some of the trailers. Some of the 38,000 families have lived in the trailers for two years now, and FEMA has yet to decide on whether to allow families who wish to stay to do so.