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Gordon Comments on CDC Release of Toxic FEMA Trailer Study

Feb 14, 2008
Press Release

(Washington, DC) Today, Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) of the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology commented on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) release of data they compiled in their study of the toxicity of the housing trailers that FEMA put in place along the Gulf Coast after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. 

Upon release of the CDC’s study today, Chairman Gordon offered the following comment:

“Finally, the CDC has reached the conclusion that it should have made more than a year ago that – because of high levels of formaldehyde fumes – travel trailers are not safe for anyone to live in. This confirmation is long overdue.  These agencies knew since the spring of 2006 that Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims living in those trailers were getting sick.  My Committee’s investigation over the past few months shows that FEMA delayed credible testing of the trailers, and the CDC failed to look at the health consequences of exposure to formaldehyde.”

“CDC said today that everyone needs to be out of these trailers by the summer when formaldehyde levels are expected to increase significantly. But 100,000 victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are still living in 38,000 of these unhealthy trailers and mobile homes.  At its current rate of 800 families a week, it will take 47 weeks to relocate all these families.  This is completely unacceptable.  I can only hope that FEMA acts immediately to move all of these people out, and I intend to be monitor this situation closely.”

“I also intend to make sure that the victims of the recent tornados in my home state of Tennessee are given safe housing by FEMA.”

Last week, Chairman Gordon and Committee leaders demanded that Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of the CDC and also the Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), take steps to protect Dr. Christopher De Rosa, former director of ATSDR’s Division of Toxicology and Environmental Medicine from what they labeled as retaliatory actions by senior ATSDR management for his whistle blowing in light of information the CDC came to know regarding the trailer toxins.  In January, Committee leaders also accused FEMA of manipulating scientific research in order to play down the danger posed by formaldehyde in the trailers.

For further information, please visit the Committee’s website at www.house.gov/science.

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110.212

110th Congress