FEMA Trailer Residents Worry About Mold, Formaldehyde

FEMA trailers still serve as homes for thousands of displaced Katrina victims. Dawn Campbell's only complaint about her trailer is mold, not formaldehyde.

"I have not had any health problems for anything from formaldehyde," said Campbell. "Because I was instructed, when I first got my trailer, to open all the windows, open the drawers, run the air conditioning, wash floors, be careful and sweep and vacuum, and it would remove some of the formaldehyde."

Cheryl D'Avy tells a different story. D'Avy claims after a year of living in a FEMA trailer, she's suffering from all sorts of respiratory problems.

"The doctors explained to me that with the combination of chemicals within these trailers, has exacerbated my breathing problems to where I continually have to have medications for antibiotics, cough, congestion," D'Avy said.

D'Avy then held up some bottles and said, "These are the medications that my physician has had to add just for my breathing."

D'Avy also relies on inhalers to help her breathe.  She worries about what's inside her trailer walls.

"We're not sure about the toxicities. We're not sure about formaldehyde. We're not sure about what construction materials were laid into here. But we don't have a choice other than to be homeless or be at a shelter," D'Avy said.

Dawn Campbell says instead of complaining, residents should thank FEMA for providing temporary housing.

"They were just trying to build them the best that they can, to get them to us to have something to live in. They should be grateful," Campbell said.

FEMA has come under fire for not conducting adequate inspections of trailers whose occupants complained of health trouble. The agency has asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to study the contamination levels.