25 February 2007

Making a bad situation worse

It turns out that in their rush to assemble those FEMA trailers, that they a) built them poorly and b) used toxic materials. A recent report detailed problems, particularly wood that emits formaldehyde, that have led to significant illnesses.

Last summer FEMA began distributing a leaflet to trailer residents explaining that the materials used in the interiors can release toxic vapors. The agency suggests residents keep windows and doors open and the air conditioner on, yet reduce heat and humidity. (The Gulf's hot, humid climate increases the rate at which materials release formaldehyde.)

But they still have people living in them with no end in sight. Congress has been aware of the situation for a while but hasn't decided whethe ror not to investigate. It is hard to imagine that this is the best that the richest nation in the world can do for citizens who were insured and lived in places that their Federal government told them were above the floodplain.

And the residents usually have to park the trailers right next to the ruins of their former home so they can hook up to power and water (a FEMA requirement).

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