Sunday, 24 February 2008
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced Friday a program to provide testing for formaldehyde in travel trailers and mobile homes at occupants’ request in federally declared disasters nationwide with open direct housing operations. This includes not only units in the Gulf Coast, but also New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Mexico, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Minnesota and California.
The contract for conducting the testing was awarded by FEMA to Bureau Veritas. Bureau Veritas is the same company that recently tested 519 units in Louisiana and Mississippi under the direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC’s preliminary analysis of those tests found a higher than typical indoor exposure levels of formaldehyde and FEMA announced it would expedite ongoing efforts to relocate residents to apartments or other alternative housing and to remove any barriers preventing households from relocation. FEMA will provide results of these tests to the occupants so that they can make informed decisions about relocating. Testing could begin as early as next week.
Occupants of FEMA-provided manufactured housing may contact the agency’s Formaldehyde Call Center at 1-866-562-2381 to discuss their testing options or request that their units be tested. Health-related concerns may be addressed to CDC experts at 1-800-CDC-INFO.
Approximately 200 units will be tested per week. Testing will begin in the units of Gulf Coast occupants who already have requested their units be tested. Bureau Veritas will contact each of these occupants to schedule an appointment to conduct a test of formaldehyde levels, as it will with those who request testing in the future.
Since FEMA and CDC announced the preliminary analysis of earlier testing on Feb. 14, 2008, FEMA’s formaldehyde hotline has received 1,922 calls from occupants along the Gulf Coast. Of these callers, 334 have requested that their units be tested. All households have been offered an immediate move to a hotel or motel and, to date, 285 have accepted this option; 82 have moved into alternative long-term housing; and 133 have refused all options. The remaining households have been offered a variety of alternatives and are considering their options.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 24 February 2008 )