Tuesday, January 29, 2008



RV Business
Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Democratic leaders of a House science subcommittee alleged Monday (Jan. 29) that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) manipulated scientific research into the potential danger posed by formaldehyde fumes emitted in trailers still housing tens of thousands of survivors of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The Washington Post reported that the congressmen in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff stated FEMA "ignored, hid and manipulated government research on the potential impact of long-term exposure to formaldehyde" on Katrina and Rita victims now living in the FEMA trailers.

Reps. Brad Miller, D-N.C., and Nick Lampson, D-Tex., cited agency documents given to Congress in alleging that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – generally considered a repository of nonpartisan scientific expertise – was "complicit in giving FEMA precisely what they wanted" to suppress the adverse health effects.

The lawmakers said the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry ignored one of its experts, Christopher T. De Rosa, after he informed FEMA there was no "safe level" of long-term exposure. They said FEMA bypassed that opinion and "shopped" the agency for its desired recommendation to study only short-term exposure.

FEMA said the health agency's report last February did not address long-term health effects but rather concerned ways to avoid toxic exposure to formaldehyde. "FEMA did not suppress or inappropriately influence any report," agency spokesman James McIntyre said.

More than 40,000 trailers are still being used by families displaced by Katrina in August 2005 and Rita weeks later. CDC began air quality testing on 500 trailers last month and the results are due out later this year.

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