Formaldehyde Exposure from Temporary Housing Costs Manufacturers $42.6 million
EMSL Analytical provides formaldehyde testing services to ensure indoor environments are safe for occupants.
According to NBC News, a federal judge in New Orleans has approved a class-action lawsuit’s settlement of $42.6 million for residents of temporary housing units that were distributed to Hurricane Katrina victims and emitted hazardous levels of formaldehyde.
Residents began experiencing various health effects, such as headaches, nosebleeds, and difficulty breathing, while living in the trailers provided by the federal government. The trailers had been trucked to the Gulf Coast by the tens of thousands in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina and Rita.
In 2006 tests conducted from samples in the trailers revealed concentrations of formaldehyde of 0.34 parts per million (ppm); typically, formaldehyde is present in indoor and outdoor levels of less than 0.03 ppm. In 2008 hundreds of trailers were tested again, revealing formaldehyde levels that were on average five times the exposure amount acceptable in modern homes.
Over two dozen manufacturers will face fines to reach the total of $42.6 million. Of the $42.6 million granted to victims, 48 percent ($20.5 million) will be granted to attorneys for various fees and costs. The remaining $37.5 million will be divided equally among 55,000 plaintiffs equaling roughly $4,020 per person.
Formaldehyde, a flammable, strong smelling chemical, is primarily used to manufacture building materials and various household products. In particular, pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard; glues and adhesives; permanent-press fabrics; paper product coatings; and certain insulation materials are more likely to contain formaldehyde.
“Formaldehyde is considered a cancer-causing substance by the International Agency for Research on Cancer,” states Michael Chapman, EMSL’s Chemistry Laboratory Manager. “EMSL Analytical’s team of experienced chemists helps companies and consumers identify potentially harmful chemicals, including formaldehyde, in indoor and outdoor environments in our laboratories across the United States.”
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is the nation’s leading testing laboratory with over 30 locations throughout the United States and Canada. We are a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in consumer product, environmental, industrial hygiene, indoor air quality, microbiology, radon, food, and materials testing services to professionals and the general public.
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