FEMA Buried Dangers of Katrina Trailers, Reps Charge

Formaldehyde risks ignored in scramble
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2008 1:54 PM CST
FEMA Buried Dangers of Katrina Trailers, Reps Charge
Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health, holds up informational fliers regarding the CDC's formaldehyde testing in trailers in Louisiana, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007, during a news conference in Washington. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria...   (Associated Press)

(Newser) – Democrats on a House committee say the Federal Emergency Management Agency ignored good science in using travel trailers with dangerously high levels of formaldehyde as long-term housing for victims of Hurricane Katrina, CNN reports, adding that FEMA suppressed a report on formaldehyde risks. The emergency agency calls yesterday's accusations "unfounded and false" and "contrary to our mission."

About 40,000 families still live in the travel trailers; 150,000 households have occupied them for some time period since the 2005 hurricane. Medical experts believe formaldehyde, a preservative used in construction materials, to cause ailments from respiratory problems to cancer. The trailers were deemed safe for a few weeks' stay; but some people have been living in them for 18 months. (Read more Hurricane Katrina stories.)

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