Love, FEMA

So yesterday FEMA said that they would take some of their mobile homes leftover from Katrina to house people who lost their homes in last week’s deadly tornadoes in the South.

Today, FEMA and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released information of the formaldehyde tests they ran in December and January.

CDC’s preliminary evaluation of a scientifically established random sample of 519 travel trailers and mobile homes tested between Dec. 21, 2007 and Jan. 23, 2008 showed average levels of formaldehyde in all units of about 77 parts per billion (ppb). Long-term exposure to levels in this range can be linked to an increased risk of cancer, and as levels rise above this range, there can also be a risk of respiratory illness. These levels are is higher than expected in indoor air, where levels are commonly in the range of 10-20 ppb. (halfway into FEMA’s press release.)

FEMA has been kicking the formaldehyde can down the street since September 2006. OSHA came in last May to see if it was safe for FEMA employees. FEMA was working to get people out of the trailers in September 2007, but was acting like it was precautionary rather than necessary.

Now we know that the trailers pose a health risk to their residents. The CDC said so. But does FEMA know that?

Dear Disaster Victims in Tennessee and Arkansas,
Sorry about your losses. We have these great trailers for you to stay in until you get back on your feet. And maybe some swamp land in Florida. Oh, and don’t forget to read the warning labels on the trailers.
Love, FEMA

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