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Galveston Bay, Texas

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Homeland Security Report Criticizes FEMA Over Response to Formaldehyde Complaints

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According to a Homeland Security Department report FEMA took too long to respond to initial reports of dangerous levels of formaldehyde in trailers used to house victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005. The report claims that FEMA “did not display ungency” to the problem that may have posed “a significant health risk” to the inhabitants of trailers.

A total of about 203,000 travel trailers and mobile homes to temporarily house some 700,000 people that were displaced by the vicious hurricanes of 2005.

Most of those that were living the trailers have since moved out; however, about 3,000 units still serve as a primary home for some hurricane victims in Mississippi and Louisiana.

According to the report approximately one in every three temporary housing units had “significant potential formaldehyde problems.”

Clark Stevens, a FEMA spokesman, said the agency agreed with the findings. He said FEMA "has already made great progress" to ensure its trailers and mobile homes were safe.

"When they (FEMA officials) did learn of the formaldehyde problems, nearly a year passed before any testing program was started and nearly two years passed before occupied trailers were tested and the occupants were informed of the extent of formaldehyde problems and potential health threats," the report said.

See the full report from the Homeland Security Department inspector general click here.