Friday, July 20, 2007

There goes FEMA's plan

Of gassing the poor to death:

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(photo taken from article.)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency since early 2006 has suppressed warnings from its own field workers about health problems experienced by hurricane victims living in government-provided trailers with levels of a toxic chemical 75 times the recommended maximum for U.S. workers, congressional lawmakers said yesterday.

A trail of e-mails obtained by investigators shows that the agency's lawyers rejected a proposal for systematic testing of the levels of potentially cancer-causing formaldehyde gas in the trailers, out of concern that the agency would be legally liable for any hazards or health problems. As many as 120,000 families displaced by hurricanes Katrina and Rita lived in the suspect trailers, and hundreds have complained of ill effects.


FEMA tested new trailers last September and October after rejecting more stringent standards suggested by the Environmental Protection Agency, Waxman said. In May, the agency reported finding formaldehyde in those trailers at 1.2 parts per million, but it said levels dropped to 0.3 parts per million after four days of ventilation.

FEMA said that met a standard used by the Department of Housing and Urban Development for its manufactured homes. But Paulison said yesterday that FEMA now recognizes that ventilating trailers is impractical during the Gulf Coast's summer heat and humidity. Lawmakers noted that FEMA issued the advice at the beginning of last summer.

Mary C. DeVany, an occupational health and safety engineer advising the Sierra Club, testified that the exposure limit of 0.3 parts per million is 400 times the normal limit for year-round exposure set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. DeVany called the move a "misapplication and skewing of scientific results . . . to minimize adverse health effects."

Who made money on this deal? Follow the money and you'll find one of Bush's fat cronies. Make him pay it back. All of it.

Update: Eli of Multi Medium has more on why FEMA decided not to test for formaldehyde in the trailers.

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