FEMA trailer tests find high formaldehyde - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

FEMA trailer tests find high formaldehyde

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -- The first retests of air-quality in FEMA trailers for Iowa flood vicitms show some with formaldehyde levels at a potentially dangerous level.

The FEMA tests found formaldehyde levels of 100 parts-per-billion or higher in one in five homes tested. That's the level at which the EPA says formaldehyde can cause burning eyes, trouble breathing and possibly even cancer in some cases. One home even tested at 210 parts per billion.

The average level was 65 parts per billion. That's still above the state standard of 40 parts per billion.

FEMA says the varied levels are not a surprise as formaldehyde levels can vary from day to day and from the lifestyles of people living there.

"The levels of formaldehyde that are being reported in Iowa are not unexpected. Sampling results may vary from day to day, and there may be other circumstances that could affect formaldehyde levels and that should be examined" said Dr. Howard Frumkin, director of CDC's National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

FEMA insists the units are safe but says it will help anyone find alternative housing that may want it.

"The health and safety of those in FEMA-provided manufactured homes are a paramount concern to us.  We will continue to work with our federal and state partners to ensure households residing in our units are fully informed," said Bill Vogel, FEMA federal coordinating officer.  "FEMA is providing test results to households by certified mail, and included with the test results, are general guidelines for managing indoor air quality.  Additionally, FEMA is contacting each of these households to offer a consultation with FEMA and health officials to answer questions." 

Here's the test results from the first 55 of the 73 FEMA trailer occupants that requested retesting: 18 ppb, 20 ppb, 22 ppb, 23 ppb, 26 ppb, 27 ppb, 27 ppb, 29 ppb, 30 ppb, 32 ppb, 32 ppb, 33 ppb, 34 ppb, 35 ppb, 35 ppb, 35 ppb, 37 ppb, 41 ppb, 43 ppb, 44 ppb, 47 ppb, 49 ppb, 51 ppb, 52 ppb,  54 ppb, 54 ppb, 54 ppb, 54 ppb, 56 ppb, 56 ppb, 60 ppb, 61 ppb, 67 ppb, 68 ppb, 70 ppb,  71 ppb, 71 ppb, 73 ppb, 78 ppb, 82 ppb, 85 ppb, 87 ppb, 98 ppb, 100 ppb, 100 ppb, 100 ppb,  110 ppb, 110 ppb, 120 ppb, 120 ppb, 120 ppb, 120 ppb, 120 ppb, 150 ppb and 210 ppb.

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