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FEMA Trailer Fumes Cause Identified

July 4, 2008

By The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS – Particleboard appears to be one of the main sources of potentially harmful fumes in government-issued travel trailers that have housed thousands of Gulf Coast storm victims, according to a study released Wednesday. The report issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta recommends using different building materials to produce emergency housing for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Better ventilation in the units also could make them safer, the CDC said. The tests looked at formaldehyde emissions in the walls, floors, ceilings, tables and cabinets in four FEMA trailers that werent occupied by hurricane victims. Formaldehyde, a preservative used in construction materials, can cause breathing problems. In a previous study, CDC scientists tested air quality inside hundreds of FEMA trailers and mobile homes occupied by victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and detected potentially dangerous levels of formaldehyde in many units.

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