We talked about this in July 2007, and now FEMA has finally issued a warning that people need to move out of their FEMA-issued trailers because they could be bad for their health.
NEW ORLEANS â€” Paul Stewart knew as soon as he moved into his government-issued trailer in December 2005 that something was wrong. He said it wasn’t long before he started waking up with a scratchy throat. His wife, Melody, woke up with bloody noses.
The couple, who had lost their home in Bay St. Louis, Miss., during the Gulf Coast hurricanes, said they asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a new trailer. But they were refused.
On Thursday, FEMA admitted what the Stewarts and thousands of other displaced Gulf Coast residents have feared all along: their government-issued trailers were toxic. The revelation came after months of congressional hearings and allegations by whistle-blowers that FEMA suppressed evidence of formaldehyde fumes.
Here’s what was revealed about FEMA’s knowledge of this last year…
Dozens of pages of internal FEMA emails released by the committee revealed the agencyâ€™s deliberate ignorance of field staff who were concerned about formaldehyde gas being emitted in trailers housing displaced residents. The documents revealed an agency that seemed more concerned with preventing potential lawsuits than with the health of those living in their mobile homes. â€œRecently discovered documents make it appear FEMAâ€™s primary concerns were legal liability and public relations, not human health and safety,â€ said Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, a Republican. FEMA administrator R. David Paulison, who received stern questioning from both sides of the aisle, admitted that, â€œin hindsight, we could have moved faster to address [concerns].â€
[…] Yet, in response to complaints, FEMAâ€™s legal department advised that testing â€œwould imply FEMAâ€™s ownership of the issue.â€ Another read, â€œDo not initiate any testing until we give the OKâ€¦Should [tests] indicate some problem, the clock is running on our duty to respond to them.â€