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Residents Moved Out of Formaldehyde Katrina Trailers

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, June 02, 2008 12:30 PM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Toxis Substances, Product Liability, FEMA, Formaldehyde, Cancers, Wrongful Death

Katrina trailers will be evacuated because of formaldehyde. 

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IMAGE SOURCE:  Wikimedia Commons/ trailers St. Bernard Parish/ author: Infrogmation

 

The federal government has booted Katrina victims from their “temporary” trailers that have been home to thousands of displaced families for three years.  Ironically, they were told the deadline was June 1, this past Sunday, and the first day of hurricane season.

The trailers cannot withstand hurricane force winds, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and they are made with high levels of formaldehyde that has been making residents sick, especially children.

Levels in some have been found five times for what is considered safe.

Formaldehyde was found in high levels by the CDC after an investigation last December. The CDC recommended that families leave the trailers as soon as possible.

Formaldehyde is an embalming fluid and colorless gas used in the manufacture of trailer homes, particle board, furniture, and cabinets.  It’s found in auto exhaust and cigarette smoke. 

Formaldehyde is used in composite woods and plywood panels. The young and elderly are most at risk. It is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer,  and causes respiratory problems, asthma and labored breathing. Respiratory illnesses rose in children after Katrina hit, according to a CDC report.

Formaldehyde exposure is also linked to ALS. Cancer may take a decade or more to develop.  

111 camps were created after Hurricane Katrina. Now all that remains is Renaissance Village, outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, home to many families who have been living in temporary accommodations since Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in August, 2005.

At one time 143,000 families had to be placed in temporary housing by FEMA across the Gulf Coast.  That number is now down to about 22,000 households.

"The government had no plan for long-term planning of folks, and this is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis that the country has never seen the proportions of," said Judith Browne-Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project, a legal action group founded by a team of civil rights lawyers in 1998, tells ABC News.

The concern is that many will try to move back into their destroyed homes in New Orleans.

FEMA will reportedly pay the rent for motels and hotels through March 2009 for residents who lived in the areas Katrina destroyed.  After they, they must pay their own way.  Those who cannot prove where they lived when Katrina struck, will have FEMA housing assistance for one month.  

A former doctor, Ghulam Nasim, 79, told the Los Angeles Times that he packed his things but remains in his trailer. He has no place to go, he says.  Many who are the last to leave are poor, elderly or disabled.  Some struggle with depression, or have addictions.

As of Saturday, Renaissance Village had 27 of 575 trailers still occupied. #   


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