Thursday, February 14, 2008
Everything's okay I'm from the government I'm here to help
Here's a clash of government agencys that's sure to please. Who would you believe?
CDC on formaldehyde
FEMA wants to hand out emergency trailers for housing to the people who've lost their homes to the tornadoes. Only problem, the trailers are new and still outgassing formaldehyde. CDC has been studying the problem since Katrina but the final report hasn't been published yet. A little background about the CDC. I get a lot of good info from their website for what I do for a living, but I have to say they are very conservative on their approach to health issues. An example is the info they put out on mold. According to them mold might cause minor respiratory problems in people prone to allergys, yet I've seen at least four cases in the last few years of extreme reactions from mold exposures to the point where individuals were bleeding from the nose and ears.
(For some reason the link above will not work and when I went back to the yahoo story from their main news site it was changed)
Here's the code for the original article: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080214/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/toxic_trailers;_ylt=Ap_lAx9gXbEz4Hj.8PtvdHis0NUE
So what can you do it you get stuck with one of these trailers? Ventilate as much as you can. Open the windows during the day as much as possible. I realize it's cold outside but the gas level rises the longer the doors and windows are closed. Turn on any vent fans and run them constantly especially when you sleep. Try to spend as much time outside the trailer as you can. If you experience burning eyes and shortness of breath get out of the trailer and see a doctor and let him/her know that you are living in one of these trailers and you suspect formaldehyde exposure.
To be quite honest I don't recall exactly how long it takes to outgas formaldehyde. My educated guess would be between several months to a few years depending on factors like ventilation and humidity. The CDC doesn't give any information about that issue.