Monday, October 27, 2008



Bob Ashley
RV Business
Monday, October 27, 2008

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has scheduled a hastily called meeting for Thursday (Oct. 30) in Washington, D.C., allowing RV manufacturers and a Joint Housing Solutions Group to discuss “current market condition and the capability of RV manufacturers" to build travel trailers meeting FEMA's now-stringent formaldehyde standards.

Invitations for the meeting were posted on FEMA's website Friday, and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) issued a Standards News Bulletin today notifying manufacturers about the meeting. Bruce Hopkins, RVIA vice president of standards and education, said the meeting was a surprise and that the reason it was scheduled is unclear.

Manufacturers have until Tuesday to RVSP.

“We just got the information,” Hopkins said. “We don't even really know what it's about.”

The FEMA notice said the meeting, scheduled for a Holiday Inn in Washington, will be limited “to the first 50 companies” that respond to the invitation, and that each company may send only two representatives.

Hopkins said that RVIA representatives will be at the meeting. Calls to FEMA to obtain more details about the Thursday meeting were unsuccessful.

FEMA has been in the middle of a controversy that arose about the formaldehyde levels in travel trailers used as emergency housing in 2005 following hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The formaldehyde issue was the subject of congressional hearings this summer where Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, berated industry representatives for their role in building the emergency shelter units – although there has been little proof offered that formaldehyde in travel trailers caused health problems.

While there are no federal standards for formaldehyde emissions in RVs, RVIA has adopted standards set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) that go into effect in January.

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