Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Manufacturers agree to compensate Katrina victims

Admit FEMA trailers held toxic gases

NEW ORLEANS - Twenty mobile home manufacturers have agreed to pay $14.8 million to thousands of U.S. hurricane victims who suffered from formaldehyde fumes in trailers furnished by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Lawyers representing those who lived in trailers after being left homeless by Gulf Coast hurricanes Katrina and Rita filed a preliminary settlement agreement in federal court in New Orleans on Friday, asking U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt to approve it.

The settlement could affect tens of thousands of people who lived in trailers provided by FEMA after Katrina and Rita devastated the Gulf Coast in August and September 2005. Chief complaints center around irritation of the eyes, nose and throat that causes a burning sensation, lung congestion, and numerous infections.

The formaldehyde is contained in compounds synthesized for use in adhesives and resins in the interiors of the trailers. It is emitted in hot, humid conditions when little or no ventilation is available in the trailers.

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