Blogging NPR: FEMA Formaldehyde

Blogging NPR: FEMA Formaldehyde

Chronic sinus infections, nosebleeds, skin rashes, headaches and aggravated asthma symptoms. These are the most common medical complaints coming from the children in Renaissance Village, a post-Katrina community of FEMA trailers in Baton Rouge, La.

According to a report we heard on NPR yesterday evening, these health issues are most likely being caused by high levels of formaldehyde present in the trailers.

The soundbite that worried us the most?

"Formaldehyde is a widely used chemical found in plastics, insulation and furniture. It's also used in disinfectants, adhesive materials and in construction, including the construction of travel trailers. It is a known carcinogen."

Most of the formaldehyde in our own homes would most likely be found in pressed wood products -- according to the EPA, pressed wood treated with formaldehyde is commonly used in subflooring, cabinetry, shelving, furniture, drawer fronts, etc.

Hopefully, none of us are facing the levels of exposure that have been found in the FEMA trailers; however, this story is still a real wakeup call -- a reminder to make sure we know what chemicals are in the things we choose to bring into our homes.

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