I've been looking into possibly getting a travel trailer, and have come across references to the famous FEMA trailers that were purchased for Katrina. There is a big stink, pardon the pun, about how these have "unsafe" airborne levels of formaldehyde and the government is catching flak over having used them to house poor hurricane victims, or reselling them at all. Apparently, they are now supposed to have warning stickers on them to the effect that humans should not actually live in them for extended periods of time.
However, a couple of points come to mind that bring the above into question. When Katrina hit, the government bought up nearly all the existing trailers on the market. So, these would seem to be the exact
same trailers that people have been vacationing in and/or living in for decades. Contrary to Political Correctness, the evil, greedy capitalists who make a profit manufacturing trailers are unlikely to deliberately poison their own customers, as that tends to be bad for repeat business. Suspiciously, the complaints seem to be against all
FEMA trailers, not just one manufacturer.
The fine print of the complaints says that the interior air of the trailers has higher levels of formaldehyde than the outside air. Well, any new car fresh off the dealer's lot also has higher concentrations of various airborne chemicals than the outside air (that's why they have the "new car" smell). Some people have complained about headaches after having been in these trailers. I've been in freshly painted rooms, or enclosed spaces where someone was using glue, and gotten a headache. That doesn't mean you have to permanently condemn the whole building, it just means you open a window and air the place out for a few hours!
Maybe there really is something to this whole formaldehyde-in-trailers thing, but it sounds
like people getting all worked up over nothing. However, I could be wrong about that. Does anyone have any first hand knowledge about these trailers?
The legitimate concerns about a FEMA trailer would seem to be whether it was trashed out and/or modified by a family previously living in it? Some of them appear to have been, for instance, retro-fitted with larger household 110 volt refrigerators (which makes them less suitable for traveling). Did quality control do down in the post-Katrina spending and building spree? Would a FEMA trailer really be a better buy than a regular used trailer? Is the stupid warning sticker going to mean that you can't resell the trailer later? If I buy one of the trailers with a warning sticker, can I still make enough money off the class action lawsuit to retire? Oops, just kidding on the last one