Trailer toxicity - formaldehyde
From: Cindy T (
Date: Fri, 19 Feb 2010 09:29:22 -0800 (PST)
It's not just a matter of ventilation in trailers.  It's important to look at 
the materials used in them.  The problem with the FEMA trailers was 
formaldehyde.  Formaldehyde is a cheap industrial by-product that kills 
mold,etc.  It is used in manufactured wood products (cabinets, plywood, etc.), 
paint, carpeting, furniture, caulk, adhesives, fragrances, etc.  It's also 
sprayed on natural fiber clothing coming from Asia to keep it from getting 
moldy in the ship.  It's in vehicle exhuast and all kinds of smoke.

No one knows who is more susceptible to formaldehyde sensitization and 
toxicity, or what the threshold is, because this is not the kind of medical 
research big pharmaceutical/chemical companies want to pay for.  Nine of us 
here were injured by long term exposure to low levels of it in our medical 
workplace.  That was 18 years ago and we are all still sensitized and unable to 
be in most public places due to ambient levels of formaldehyde being too high 
for us.

Anyone planning to live in a trailer may want to ask a lot of questions, and do 
some testing inside it first.  

There are ceramic trailers made without formaldehyde but they are expensive.  
Europe may have lower allowable levels of formaldehyde too.

Cindy T

> I wonder whether there are any trailers built with attention to issues  
> of toxicity.
> As far as I know (and I haven't really looked into it for a decade or  
> more), trailers
> tend(ed) to be rather toxic.
> We've seen that with the trailers in New Orleans, but was that an  
> exception, or
> the rule?
> Racheli.

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