They're Baaack: Formaldehyde-filled FEMA Trailers Housing Gulf Spill Workers

toxic trailer fema formaldehyde photo

That's the tongue-in-cheek image we used when the General Services Administration put the FEMA formaldehyde tainted trailers up for sale. We wondered "who would think of buying them and what they could possibly doing with them."

Now we know; they are reselling them and using them to house workers cleaning up the spill.

Four years or so after their manufacture, one would think that much of that formaldehyde had outgassed already; that's what the industry says about formaldehyde binders in particle board and plywood. But evidently they still stink.

toxic trailer

FEMA Trailers Optimizing Formaldehyde Exposure

As one disaster contracting firm owner said in the New York Times,

"These are perfectly good trailers," Mr. Mason said, adding that he has leased land in and around Venice for 40 more trailers that are being delivered from Texas in the coming weeks. "Look, you know that new car smell? Well, that's formaldehyde, too. The stuff is in everything. It's not a big deal."

But a prospective tenant said that "the fumes in the trailer from formaldehyde, a widely used chemical in building materials like particle board, were so strong that he had asked his employer to provide him with a non-FEMA trailer."

Kimberley noted in Toxic FEMA Trailers To Be Auctioned Off With Warning Stickers that "In addition to the hazards of formaldehyde, FEMA is admitting that the trailers could be prone to mold, mildew, and propane gas leaks." They were supposed to be covered in stickers saying "Not To Be Used For Housing'', but they seem to have disappeared.

More in the New York Times

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