Proposal to send FEMA trailers to Haiti
The trailer industry and lawmakers are pressing the government to send Haiti thousands of potentially formaldehyde-laced trailers left over from Hurricane Katrina.
The 100,000 trailers became a symbol of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s bungled response to Katrina.
The government had bought the trailers to house victims of the 2005 storm, but after people began falling ill, high levels of formaldehyde, a chemical that is used in building materials and can cause breathing problems and perhaps cancer, were found inside. Many of the trailers have sat idle for years
This document is the most interesting. It’s a standard part of the job description package for most federal jobs. It is entitled “FEMA Job Hazard Analysis” and lists, in helpful chart form, the activities involved in the position. The position is Logistics Material Specialist, Trailer In-Bound Inspection (the guy or gal who inspects a brand-new trailer before it is sent off to a needy family in the Gulf).
Under the “Physical Hazard” for those entering a new trailer it says, “Formaldehyde off gassing…”
The potential injury: Cancer
- US Trade Group Wants Stanky, Formaldehyde-Laced FEMA Trailers Sent To Haiti
- Groups urge sending FEMA trailers to Haiti South Bend Tribune
- Given the urgent needs for shelter in Haiti, I don’t know if there’s time enough to screen abandoned FEMA trailers for interior air formaldehyde content
n a Jan. 15 letter to FEMA, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said the trailers could be used as temporary shelter or emergency clinics.
“While I continue to believe that these units should not be used for human habitation, I do believe that they could be of some benefit on a short-term, limited basis if the appropriate safeguards are provided,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss wrote.
Among the lawmakers backing the idea is Mississippi state Sen. Billy Hewes.
“If I had the choice between no shelter and having the opportunity of living in a shelter that might have some fumes, I know what I’d choose,” he said. “If these trailers were good enough for Mississippians, I would think they were good enough for folks down in Haiti as well.”