Hsu_-_Formaldehde_in_FEMA_trailers_-_wash_post

Hsu_-_Formaldehde_in_FEMA_trailers_-_wash_post - FEMA Knew...

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FEMA Knew Of Toxic Gas In Trailers Hurricane Victims Reported Illnesses By Spencer S. Hsu Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, July 20, 2007; A01 The Federal Emergency Management Agency since early 2006 has suppressed warnings from its own field workers about health problems experienced by hurricane victims living in government-provided trailers with levels of a toxic chemical 75 times the recommended maximum for U.S. workers, congressional lawmakers said yesterday. A trail of e-mails obtained by investigators shows that the agency's lawyers rejected a proposal for systematic testing of the levels of potentially cancer-causing formaldehyde gas in the trailers, out of concern that the agency would be legally liable for any hazards or health problems. As many as 120,000 families displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita lived in the suspect trailers, and hundreds have complained of ill effects. On June 16, 2006, three months after reports of the hazards surfaced and a month after a trailer resident sued the agency, a FEMA logistics expert wrote that the agency's Office of General Counsel "has advised that we do not do testing, which would imply FEMA's ownership of this issue." A FEMA lawyer, Patrick Preston, wrote on June 15: "Do not initiate any testing until we give the OK. . . . Once you get results and should they indicate some problem, the clock is running on our duty to respond to them." FEMA tested no occupied trailers after March 2006, when it initially discovered formaldehyde levels at 75 times the U.S.-recommended workplace safety threshold and relocated a south Mississippi couple expecting their second child, the documents indicate. Formaldehyde, a common wood preservative used in construction materials such as particle board, can cause vision and respiratory problems; long-term exposure has been linked to cancer and higher rates of asthma, bronchitis and allergies in children. One man in Slidell, La., was found dead in his trailer on June 27, 2006, after complaining about the
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This note was uploaded on 05/04/2010 for the course CEE 320 taught by Professor Mcmahon during the Spring '10 term at Wisconsin.

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Hsu_-_Formaldehde_in_FEMA_trailers_-_wash_post - FEMA Knew...

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