Formaldehyde fears prompt FEMA offer to refund buyers of trailers

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, responding to concerns about high levels of formaldehyde in its disaster trailers, says it will offer refunds to people who bought trailers.

In the summer of 2006, the federal government began selling travel and park model trailers through online auctions and to victims of the 2005 hurricane season.

But sales were suspended in July 2007 because of formaldehyde fears.

FEMA said 10,839 travel trailers and park models were sold by the federal General Services Administration at an average price of $6,936.

864 trailers were sold directly to hurricane victims.

The agency said it would send e-mails to buyers notifying them of the refund option. FEMA said purchasers would need to request a refund within the next 60 days.

Hundreds of people in Louisiana and Mississippi are suing manufacturers for allegedly providing FEMA with trailers that contained high levels of formaldehyde after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.