Monday, August 13, 2007



RV Business
Monday, August 13, 2007

Federal disaster officials plan to move thousands of hurricane victims out of travel trailers as worries grow that people might have been living for months in government-issued campers with high levels of formaldehyde fumes.

The Associated Press reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) also plans to stop using travel trailers in future disasters until it feels it can deliver safe ones, Aaron Walker, a FEMA spokesman, said Friday (Aug. 10).

The plan calls for disbanding government trailer sites on the Gulf Coast and offering safe mobile homes, hotel rooms or apartments to those who need living space as they rebuild hurricane-damaged homes.

The moves come as worries grow that the campers are not safe, possibly because particle board in their construction contains high levels of formaldehyde.

"FEMA takes these concerns seriously," FEMA administrator R. David Paulison wrote in a July 31 memo obtained by The Associated Press that spells out the plan of action.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is examining the possible toxicity of the trailers and issued a health advisory because of the uncertainties.

Jay Wilson, executive director of the Colorado-based Disaster Emergency Response Association, said the move was effectively an unprecedented recall of a product issued by a federal agency.

"I can't personally think of any other time when FEMA or HUD has had a major reversal in a program where they distributed something like trailers and came sometime later to realize there was some risk to it," he said.

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