Like 26,000 other displaced families, Lindsay and Steven Huckabee are still living in the FEMA provided trailers—and they are making the family sick. For two years, the Huckabees and their five children have suffered several health problems. The kids have had nosebleeds, sinus infections, and four of the five have been hospitalized. Lindsay suffers constant migraines, and Steven has developed a mysterious mouth tumor.
Steven's doctor suspects that elevated levels of formaldehyde—which is in the particle boards used to build the trailers—may be causing these problems. "Our FEMA trailer tested over 20 times what is acceptable for families to live in," Lindsay says.
The Huckabees' 18-month-old son, Michael, was born prematurely shortly after they moved into the trailer. "Michael has had so many problems from the formaldehyde that he has to take breathing treatments once a day," Steven says.
In July 2007, Lindsay took her story to Capitol Hill, where she testified before Congress. At the hearing, FEMA administrator David Paulison said, "We recognize now that we have an issue. We are dealing with it in the best manner we can."
In response to residents' complaints of illnesses, FEMA began moving 140 families out of the trailers in August 2007.