By Calif. Dem. Rep. Henry Waxman
Families whose lives were overturned by Hurricane Katrina now may be getting sick because of the chemicals used in manufacturing their government-provided housing. Tests of the air in FEMA-issued emergency housing trailers in Mississippi and Louisiana revealed that 94% of the trailers had high levels of formaldehyde gas that exceeded EPA guidelines. Additional recent tests found the problem in trailers in Alabama as well. Formaldehyde exposure, even at low levels, can trigger coughing, wheezing, and even asthma attacks. Formaldehyde is also a known human carcinogen.
This is unacceptable. Today Rep. Charlie Melancon and I wrote a letter to FEMA
demanding answers: Did FEMA know that formaldehyde had been used in treating the wood in the trailers? Did FEMA cut corners in buying trailers treated with the chemical? What is FEMA doing to address the problem?
Katrina victims have already been through too much. They shouldn't have to worry about getting sick from the air in their FEMA-provided homes.