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Formaldehyde found in Katrina victim trailers in Louisiana

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Guest CDC Division of Media Relations

Julie L. Gerberding M.D., M.P.H; Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and

 

R. David Paulison, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency

What: CDC, . Dr. Gerberding will announce the preliminary findings of the and Mississippi. Administrator Paulison will discuss actions FEMA plans to take based on the CDC findings. The testing of 520 occupied manufactured housing units from Dec. 21, 2007 to Jan. 23, 2008 was conducted for FEMA by the CDC.

When: February 14, 2008

12:00 p.m. central standard time; 1p.m. eastern standard time

Brief remarks followed by Q&A.

Where: FEMA Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office

1 Seine Court, 3rd Floor

New Orleans, LA 70114

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The homes that Katrina Victims have been living in the FEMA travel trailers built with materials that contain formaldehyde. CDC tested 519 trailers. What they observed low levels of formaldehyde. A third of the homes had levels that would effect the ederly. Five percent of the homes had high levels that would give a normal healthy person respirtory problems. CDC recommends that people move out of their homes quickly as possible. The summer heat will raise the levels. Also those people that live in the homes over time the formaldehyde levels will have cummalitive effect. CDC recommends to FEMA home owners to increase ventilation of their homes immediately as possible. As a result of these findings FEMA is going to expand their actions to residents that need to be relocated to apartments, alternative housing, or hotel rooms. Eight hundred to a thousand families are in the process of moving out of their trailers every week. FEMA will provide the moving transportation, storage and pet care for families.

 

Call 1-800-CDC-INFO for advice.

Call 1-866-562-2381 for FEMA relocation teams

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Guest Henry A. Waxman

Mr. R. David Paulison

Administrator

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Department of Homeland Security

500 C Street, SW

Washington, DC 20472

Dear Mr. Paulison:

 

I am writing in regard to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform's ongoing investigation into dangerous levels of formaldehyde in travel trailers provided by the Federal

Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to victims of the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes.

 

First, I am concerned that FEMA has still not provided all responsive documents to the

Committee. There is a striking absence of documents that would clarify how the agency's

approach to the formaldehydehazard was developed and approved. In particular, FEMA has not

produced documents which clarify how the chain of command functioned above the level of

Patrick Preston, atrial attorney in the Office of General Counsel.

 

In order to resolve this matter, I request that you produce all remaining documents and personally certify that FEMA has provided all documents. Additionally, I request that Patrick Preston be made available for a transcribed interview no later than Friday, February 29,2007.

 

Please ensure that FEMA produces every document responsive to its requests up to the date of

the subpoena, July 16,2007, including every responsive document relevant to your role as

FEMA Administrator.

 

Finally, I understand FEMA has decided to reimburse individuals who purchased atravel trailer through the General Services Administration. Please provide the Committee with information that explains FEMA's decision to reimbruse these individuals as well as how FEMA intends to make taxpayers whole for any defective products that may have been pwchased with taxpayer funds. I also understand that the Federal Occupational Health (FOH) has been conducting an employee monitoring project with regard to the presence of formaldehyde in FEMA trailers. Please provide the results of this monitoring project.

 

intends to make taxpayers whole for any defective products that may have been pwchased with

taxpayer funds. I also understand that the Federal Occupational Health (FOH) has been

conducting an employee monitoring project with regard to the presence of formaldehyde in

FEMA trailers. Please provide the results of this monitoring project.

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Guest Henry A. Waxman

Mr. Steve Bennett

President

Pilerim International. Inc.

105 14thAvenue

Middlebury, IN 46540

 

Dear Mr. Bennett:

 

I am writing regarding the Pilgrim International, Inc., travel trailers sold to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005. These trailers were provided as housing by FEMA to victims of the hurricanes. At one time, over 100,000 trailers, including those manufactured by Pilgrim, were being used as housing for victims of the hurricanes.l Currently, thousands of families in the Gulf Coast continue to live in the travel trailers and mobile homes manufactured by Pilgrim and other companies.

 

On July 19,2007, the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing as

part of its investigation into dangerous levels of formaldehyde in the travel trailers and manufactured homes FEMA provided to victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes. Through its investigation, the Oversight Committee learned that numerous travel trailers and manufactured homes tested by both FEMA and a non-profit organizationhad levels of formaldehyde much higher than the level at which adverse health effects begin to occur. Specific evidence obtained by the Committee indicates that travel trailers manufactured by Pilgrim were included within this group.

 

In order to help the Oversight Committee understand how this situation developed, I request that you provide the Committee with information on the Pilgrim travel trailers sold to FEMA following the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005. Specifically, I ask that Pilgrim provide the Oversight Committee with the following:

 

1. All documents related to communications between Pilgrim and FEMA regarding formaldehyde in the Pilgrim travel trailers sold to FEMA following the Gulf Coast hurricanes of2005:

 

2. All communications between Pilgrim and any Pilgrim subcontractor regarding formaldehyde in the Pilgrim travel trailers sold to FEMA following the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005, including all communications regarding the use of formaldehyde in the manufacture process or any process used to decrease or minimize the levels of formaldehyde; and

 

3. All other documents related to formaldehyde in Pilgrim travel trailers sold to FEMA

following the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005. Also, please provide the Oversight Commifiee with answers to the following questions:

 

1. How many travel trailers did Pilgrim manufacture specifically for FEMA following the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005? V/hat were the terms of the contract for the purchase ofthese travel trailers?

 

2. Was formaldehyde used in the production of the Pilgrim travel trailers sold to FEMA following the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005? If so, how was formaldehyde used in the production of the travel trailers?

 

3. Why would a Pilgrim travel trailer sold to FEMA following the Gulf Coast hurricanes of

2005 have high levels of formaldehyde?

 

4. What processes, if any, does Pilgrim use to decrease or minimize the levels of formaldehyde in the travel trailers it produces? Were these processes used for the travel trailers sold to FEMA?

 

5. For the travel trailers sold to FEMA, did Pilgrim voluntarily follow the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development's formaldehyde emission controls standard for wood products for manufactured homes?

 

6. Did Pilgrim test the formaldehyde emissions of any travel i'railer components or parts? If

so, what were the results of these tests?

 

7. Were subcontractors used in the production of the travel trailers or manufactured homes

sold to FEMA following the Gulf Coast hurricanes of 2005? If so, which companies were used as subcontractors and what component or part did each subcontractor manufacture? Was formaldehyde used in the manufacture of these components or parts?If so, which components or parts?

 

8. What actions has Pilgrim taken in light of the elevated formaldehyde levels found in the

travel trailers FEMA provided to Gulf Coast hurricane victims? Please provide the Committee with the requested documents and answeÍs by Friday, March 7,2008.

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Guest LAW_*

This letter was also sent to:

 

Mr. Richard M. Lavers

Chief Executive Officer

Coachmen Industries, Inc.

P.O. Box 30

Middlebury, IN 46540

 

Mr. Brian Shea

President

Gulf Stream Coach, Inc.

503 South Oakland Avenue

Nappanee, IN 46550

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Guest LAW_*

Tony Buzbee

 

Tel: (409) 762-5393 or (800) 992-5393

Fax: (409) 762-0538

 

tbuzbee@txattorneys.com

 

http://www.txattorneys.com/news-62.html

 

Local RV manufacturers are facing a class-action lawsuit

Leanne Tokers

WSBT News

August 9, 2007

South Bend, IN

(WSBT) Several local RV manufacturers are facing a class-action lawsuit.

 

It centers around government-issued trailers provided to victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Louisiana.

 

The suit includes more than 500 people. They claim high levels of formaldehyde in the trailers made many of them sick.

 

"We have four families that lost loved ones. We have one family whose child contracted leukemia, and we have clients that have symptoms that pretty much run the gamut of what you see in the formaldehyde exposure," said Tony Buzbee of The Buzbee Law Firm.

 

The suit names 14 RV companies. It claims they recklessly rushed to produce the trailers and used substandard building materials.

 

"These companies, as we allege in our complaint, were in such a God-awful hurry to make money with government contracts, that they cut corners," said Buzbee.

 

Most of the companies named in the suit are local.

 

It includes:

 

Gulf Stream Coach, Inc. of Nappanee

Jayco Enterprises, Inc. of Elkhart

Starcraft RV, Inc. of Elkhart

Forest River, Inc. of Elkhart

Coachmen Industries, Inc. of Indianapolis

Pilgrim International, Inc. of Middlebury

Keystone Industries, Inc. of Indianapolis

Recreation by Design, LLC of Goshen

Skyline Corporation of Elkhart

 

 

They either did not return WSBT's calls or had no comment.

 

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association sent WSBT an email with a report titled, "Formaldehyde and FEMA Trailers" included.

 

It said, "The hurricane's aftermath created hatching grounds for mold and their airborne spores. These substances could be contributing factors in causing the reported health affects."

 

It also said, "The irritating effects caused by formaldehyde are completely reversible."

 

However, for people like Perry Jennings in Louisiana, they'll tell you the damage is already done.

 

"After Katrina, it's just like one more deal we'll just have to go with, and we'll just have to deal with it the way we've dealt with everything else. We'll just keep going on and do the best we can," said Jennings.

 

Buzbee says he expects to file another major lawsuit against the RV manufacturers soon. He says it will be on behalf of about 650 people who lived in FEMA trailers in Mississippi.

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Guest Patrick77

http://dockets.justia.com/search?q=Gulf+Stream+Coach%2C+Inc.

 

The defendants are Gulf Stream Coach, Inc.; Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc.; Jayco Enterprises, Inc.; Starcraft RV, Inc.; Forest River, Inc.; Thor Industries, Inc.; Coachmen Industries, Inc.; Palomino RV; Pilgrim International, Inc.; Keystone Industries, Inc.; Morgan Building Systems, Inc.; Frontier RV, Inc.; Recreation by Design, LLC; and Skyline Corp.

 

The case is "Jerome Anthony Culler, et al., v. Gulf Stream Coach, Inc., et al." (Civil Action No. 07-4018) in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Louisiana. The lawsuit will not be pursued as a class action, according to counsel.

 

http://www.laed.uscourts.gov/

 

U.S. District Court

500 Poydras Street, Room C-151

New Orleans, LA 70130

Phone (504) 589-7650

Fax (504) 589-7697

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