FEMA's testing delays stir memories of Katrina's aftermath - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

FEMA's testing delays stir memories of Katrina's aftermath

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - This holiday season, hundreds of Gulf Coast hurricane victims will make room in their cramped trailers for a belated gift from the Federal Emergency Management Agency: a tripod with an air tube and thermometer.

Government scientists will use those devices to measure formaldehyde emissions in hundreds of FEMA trailers. Preliminary results of the air-quality tests are due in February. A final report is expected to be released in May.

FEMA says the tests reflect its commitment to protect the safety of storm victims. Others wonder if an agency vilified for its glacial response to Hurricane Katrina hasn't learned from mistakes it made in the aftermath of the Aug. 29, 2005, storm.

More than a year has passed since FEMA started fielding complaints from ailing trailer dwellers who suspected the trailers were emitting hazardous levels of formaldehyde, which can cause respiratory problems and has been classified as a carcinogen.

The Sierra Club started testing the air quality in FEMA trailers in April 2006.

Hundreds of trailer occupants in Mississippi and Louisiana are suing companies that manufactured the units for FEMA after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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