Air It Out | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Air It Out

"We've told people they can air those trailers out," Paulison said.

FEMA really is the gift that keeps on giving, isn't it? Witness the deep concern of FEMA Director David Paulison about formaldehyde contamination of FEMA trailers on the Gulf Coast:

Surely airing out the trailers is enough, right?

Becky Gillette, vice chairwoman of the Mississippi chapter of the Sierra Club, said testing of some FEMA trailers and mobile homes showed elevated levels of formaldehyde, even in those that have been aired out for months.

"We're getting high readings in trailers that are 20 months old," Gillette said.

But formaldehyde isn't actually that bad, is it? Note the strange way Ana Radelat describes it:

It is a naturally occurring chemical, but elevated levels of formaldehyde gas can cause headaches, burning eyes and throats, nausea and difficulty breathing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site.

Um, most chemicals are "naturally occurring." For instance, on Venus, it rains sulfer dioxide and sulfuric acid, both of which are perfectly "natural." That doesn't I want them in my living room, however.

It seems plain that FEMA is once again trying to cover its own butt at the expense of the American public.

Waxman said he has sought information about formaldehyde levels in the trailers and mobile homes from FEMA since August 2006 but has received little response. ...

Gillette said trailer maintenance workers have complained of respiratory illnesses, burning throats and headaches that she said could be caused by toxic levels of formaldehyde.

But remember who this impacts the most:

Lindsay Huckabee, who is living in a FEMA mobile home in Kiln with her husband and five children, said she's contacted FEMA at least 30 times because she believes her home has toxic levels of formaldehyde.

She says her children, who range in age from 1 to 12 years, have had persistent nosebleeds and respiratory problems.

Two were hospitalized with pneumonia, she said.

"We've reported (problems) over and over again and we haven't gotten any response," she said.

Hey, that's not true, Ms. Huckabee. After all:

"We've told people they can air those trailers out," Paulison said.

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