Testing begins soon on FEMA trailers

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 7, 2008

Staff and wire

A flurry of activity has begun near the Dallas County Jail, where acres of trailers are stored for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Workers from the federal government are on the site to set up generators to provide electricity to the units for testing.

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FEMA will test the units here, in Arkansas and Oregon for high levels of formaldehyde before releasing those with less of the dangerous chemical compound.

FEMA spokesman James McIntyre told the Associated Press on Thursday tests began Wednesday night in Portland, Ore., where the agency had some trailers stored for victims of a December flood.

The testing here will begin as soon as the temporary generators are set up. &8220;There in the process of getting the areas ready now.&8221;

The test will run the heating cooling and ventilation systems for seven days. On the eighth day, workers will collect samples from the units to send off to a laboratory to test for the formaldehyde. Those that pass the test, McIntyre said, will be cleared to send to tornado victims in Tennessee and Arkansas.

The Centers for Disease Control has announced tested homes and trailers tested by the government still contain 40 times the customary exposure levels of the compound.

Formaldehyde can cause breathing problems and is thought to cause cancer.