ハリケーン被災者用のトレーラーから高濃度のホルムアルデヒド

 ハリケーン被災者向けに政府が設置したトレーラーの検査でホルムアルデヒドが有害レベルで検出され、早急に退去するようにとされた。CDCによるとルイジアナとミシシッピの519のトレーラーと移動式住宅において正常の5倍の濃度が検出された。いくつかのトレーラーでは40倍の高濃度であり呼吸障害の可能性がある。 FEMAが供給したトレーラーであり、子どもや高齢者、喘息持ちのひとはできるだけ早く退去をと呼びかけている。CDCでは、これにより病気になった事が示されたわけではなく、ホルムアルデヒドを検査しただけであるという。
画像 2005年のハリケーンカトリーナとリタの犠牲者に12万個の移動住宅を提供したが、2006年に、頭痛と鼻血の報告が数件あった。昨年5月には環境保護活動家が重大な健康被害があると提起したが、FEMA役員はその意見を退け、トレーラーは業界標準に対応しているとしていた。
 気温が上がると濃度が上昇するので夏までに退去してほしいという。
 先週、議会民主党が、トレーラーのアルデヒド被害の危険を軽視するため科学的研究を捜査したことでFEMAを非難した。サンプルはトレーラーが数日間開放された後で採取されたという。
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CDC: Katrina Victims Must Vacate Toxic Trailers
Gulf Coast Hurricane Victims Urged to Move; Tests Find Toxic Levels of Formaldehyde Fumes
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4290162&page=1
By MIKE STOBBE AP Medical Writer Feb. 14, 2008

画像ATLANTA (AP) - U.S. health officials are urging that Gulf Coast hurricane victims be moved out of their government-issued trailers as quickly as possible after tests found toxic levels of formaldehyde fumes.

Fumes from 519 trailer and mobile homes in Louisiana and Mississippi were - on average - about five times what people are exposed to in most modern homes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some trailers, the levels were nearly 40 times customary exposure levels, raising fears that residents could contract respiratory problems.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency - which supplied the trailers - should move people out quickly, with priority given to families with children, elderly people or anyone with asthma or other chronic conditions, said Mike McGeehin, director of a CDC division that focuses on environmental hazards.

"We do not want people exposed to this for very much longer," McGeehin said.

While there are no federal safety standard for formaldehyde fumes in homes, the levels found in the trailers are high enough to cause burning eyes and breathing problems for people who have asthma or sensitivity to air pollutants, said McGeehin.

CDC officials said the study did not prove people became sick from the fumes, but merely took a snapshot reading of fume levels. Only formaldehyde was tested, they added.

FEMA provided about 120,000 travel trailers to victims of the 2005 hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2006, some occupants began reporting headaches and nosebleeds.

The complaints were linked to formaldehyde, a colorless gas with a pungent smell used in the production of plywood and resins.

Commonly used in manufactured homes, formaldehyde can cause respiratory problems and has been classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Last May, FEMA officials dismissed findings by environmentalists that the trailers posed serious health risks. They said the trailers conformed to industry standards.

By August, about 1,000 families in Louisiana asked FEMA to move them to other quarters. In November, lawyers for a group of hurricane victims asked a federal judge to order FEMA to test for hazardous fumes. The CDC, working with FEMA, hired a contractor. The firm - Bureau Veritas North America - tested air samples from 358 travel trailers, 82 park model and 79 mobile homes. Analysis of the samples, taken from Dec. 21 through Jan. 23, came back last week, McGeehin said. They found average levels of 77 parts formaldehyde per billion parts of air, significantly higher than the 10 to 17 parts per billion concentration seen in newer homes. Levels were as high as 590 parts per billion. The highest concentrations were in travel trailers, which are smaller and more poorly ventilated, McGeehin said.

Indoor air temperature was a significant factor in raising formaldehyde levels, independent of trailer make or model, CDC officials said. McGeehin said that's why the CDC would like residents out before summer.

A broader-based children's health study is also in the works, McGeehin said.

Last week, congressional Democrats accused FEMA of manipulating scientific research in order to play down the danger posed by formaldehyde in the trailers.

In its initial round of testing, FEMA took samples from unoccupied trailers that had been aired out for days and compared them with federal standards for short-term exposure, according to the lawmakers.

Legislators also said the CDC ignored research from - and then demoted - one of its own experts, who concluded any level of exposure to formaldehyde may pose a cancer risk. A CDC spokesman has denied the allegations.

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On the Net:
FEMA: http://www.fema.gov CDC: http://www.cdc.gov
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Katrina Victims Have No Faith in FEMA's Promises
Government Admits Trailers Are Toxic, but Has No Health Plan
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4293900&page=1

By SUSAN DONALDSON JAMES
Feb. 15, 2008

The last three years have been hell for the Huckabees.

After their apartment was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, the Mississippi family lived in two trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, both of which contained high levels of formaldehyde.

Since moving into their first trailer after the 2005 hurricane, Lindsay and Steve Huckabee and their five children have endured a variety of illnesses ― asthma, headaches, sore throats and respiratory illnesses ― that read like a toxicologist's list of likely symptoms for exposure to the carcinogen.

Six-year-old Laila has had two surgeries for sinus problems, and father Steve has now developed mouth tumors.

"The ENT [ears, nose and throat doctor] said in his 23 years of practice he had never seen a tumor in that spot before," Lindsay Huckabee, coughing with a screaming child in the background, told ABCNews.

"He said it was extremely rare and could have been from the fumes, because he breathes through his mouth," she said.

Now the family, whose children range in age from 2 to 13, has learned the government will move them, along with thousands of other people, into a hotel or other temporary housing.

"We've been through this before," said Huckabee. "They offered us 30 days in a hotel, and it had two double beds in one room and no kitchenette," Huckabee said.

That's hardly enough room for a family of seven, and housing isn't the family's only concern. The Huckabees are now spending $300 a month on steroids for Laila's sinuses in addition to multiple medical co-payments and money lost from missing days of work to take care of their sickly brood.

High Level of Fumes

After health complaints in 2006, about 1,000 families in Louisiana asked FEMA to move them to new quarters, and lawyers for a group of victims asked a federal judge to order FEMA to test for fumes.

The Centers for Disease Control, working with FEMA, tested the air for formaldehyde fumes in 519 trailer- and mobile homes between Dec. 21 and Jan. 23. The testing revealed that some trailers contained fumes at levels nearly 40 times the customary exposure level.

The CDC and FEMA announced Thursday that Gulf Coast hurricane victims will be moved out of their government-issued, formaldehyde-laden trailers as quickly as possible.

Of the 143,000 people who were originally given trailers, about 105,000 have since been moved, FEMA said Thursday, leaving about 38,000 people still living in trailers.

"This is really about people," CDC Director Julie L. Gerberding said at a press conference. "They have great faith and courage in us, and I hope we can help them relocate."

FEMA has promised an array of short-term benefits in addition to housing, including moving benefits, storage and even consultation with specialists to keep families near schools and work. Pet care is also included.

Priority will be given to families with children, elderly people or anyone with asthma or other chronic conditions.

But FEMA announced no plans to pay for the long-term health problems facing those, like the Huckabees, who lived in the toxic trailers for up to two years.

'Victimized Again'

"We have victimized the Katrina victims again by putting them in unsafe shelters, and then again with future health problems," said Leslie March, who helped test trailers for the Sierra Club in New Orleans.

The Sierra Club began air quality tests in 2006 after receiving health complaints. The environmental organization found that about 83 percent of trailers tested had formaldehyde levels up to three times higher than the EPA workplace limit.

The Huckabees' symptoms started just days after moving into their first trailer in Kiln, Miss. Lindsay, 26 and pregnant, began having migraine headaches, and the four children had constant upper respiratory problems.

One daughter, who had been asthma-free for two years, had a recurrence, and Lindsay had pre-term labor contractions during her latest pregnancy and delivered five weeks early. The baby, now 2 years old, has been in the hospital with asthmatic bronchitis.

Their doctor finally advised testing the first mobile home and found double the acceptable levels of formaldehyde. FEMA replaced that home with another, which also tested positive for formaldehyde.

Environmental Group Steps In

Formaldehyde, a toxic chemical most often used for embalming, is used as a glue in building materials. Under hot, humid conditions it can leak into the air.

For that reason, FEMA said it wants all trailer occupants out by the summer, when temperatures rise and hurricane season begins again.

"This is a real vindication for people that have been trying to raise the alarm about this for two years," said Becky Gillette, a volunteer for the Mississippi Sierra Club, who led the effort to test trailers.

'Sick All The time'

But the Huckabees and others don't want to move, and say government efforts are not enough. Steve Huckabee earns $38,000 a year as a land surveyor, and Lindsay has just taken a job at a Waffle House restaurant to help with the bills.

"All the medicine they have to buy is what a mortgage payment would be, and she's not getting any help," said Gillette, who has heard the health woes of hundreds of families whose children are sick. "They can't save money because they are sick all the time and the kids are out of school. How can they rebuild?"

Those who have been working with victims say there is already a shortage of affordable housing in the Gulf region. Huckabee said rents in her town have jumped from about $900 a month to up to $1,500 a month.

"They claim they are going to get everyone out really quickly," said Huckabee, who testified to Congress on the family's health problems. "But they did that did this before, and I don't think there were enough hotel rooms. I guess we are going to have to wait and see."

The CDC said they would go "door to door" to hand deliver individual home tests to begin a registry of health problems and the long-term effects of the formaldehyde exposure. A broader-based children's health study is also in the works.

At the press conference, FEMA head R. David Paulsin vowed "to continue aggressive action to provide for the safety and well-being" of trailer residents.

Case workers will offer people advice on their medical, employment and educational needs, he said. They will also assist with the relocation and care of pets and help provide furnishing.

"We do care about these people, but we did not have a lot of information," said Paulsin. "[The trailers] were the only toolbox we had at the time."

Sierra volunteers say FEMA has "side-stepped" the larger issue of who is going to pay for the long-term health effects of the formaldehyde exposure.

"They ought to be embarrassed," said Sierra's March, who tested 30 trailers herself. "I never heard such a long list of promises from an agency that's not shown us they are worthy of our faith. I am praying they are not giving us false hope."

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