Thursday, July 10, 2008

Katrina trailer builder didn't act on health risks

Gulf Stream Coach -- the politically connected company handed a $500 million federal contract to manufacture trailers for Hurricane Katrina victims -- knew its product was contaminated with dangerous levels of cancer-causing formaldehyde in early 2006.

But it failed to notify residents or take any action to protect them.

That was one of the revelations that emerged from yesterday's hearing on Katrina trailer manufacturers held by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Led by Rep. Henry Waxman of California, the committee has been investigating health problems related to toxic trailers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency provided to storm survivors at a total cost to taxpayers of more than $2 billion. The hearing came a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report assessing in detail trailers' formaldehyde levels.

Other manufacturers addressed in yesterday's hearing were Forest River of Elkhart, Ind.; Keystone RV of Goshen, Ind.; and Pilgrim International of Middlebury, Ind. The trailers made by those companies and used to house Katrina's displaced were all found by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to have significantly higher levels of formaldehyde than other brands. However, the other companies apparently did not have as much detailed knowledge of the potential health risks as Gulf Stream.
Full Story...
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