Statement on CDCFebruary 14, 2008
Author: Brad Lovin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
STATEMENT ON CDC PRELIMINARY FINDINGS OF CURRENTLY OCCUPIED EMERGENCY HOUSING FOR SURVIVORS OF HURRICANES KATRINA AND RITA THAT STRUCK THE GULF COAST IN 2006
In late 2005, the members of the manufactured housing industry, including the North Carolina Manufactured Housing Institute (NCMHI) responded immediately to urgent requests from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help provide housing to thousands of survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita who had lost their homes and had no other means of shelter for their families.
The manufactured housing industry, which offers quality affordable housing alternatives for many individuals and families with a wide array of lifestyle choices, quickly responded to FEMA’s need for assistance. Manufacturers from across the nation, including a majority of North Carolina plants, produced manufactured housing units to meet the housing needs of those displaced by the devastation resulting from the severity of these hurricanes.
NCMHI members produce manufactured homes that adhere to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. The HUD Code, as it typically referred to, requires that all manufactured home producers meet stringent standards for housing design and construction, strength and durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency and quality to ensure consumer safety and health. The CDC testing of manufactured homes found that the levels of formaldehyde emissions were in the .06 ppm range which is below emission levels considered acceptable by HUD and EPA. Travel trailers and park model temporary housing units, which made up the bulk of FEMA’s temporary housing in the Gulf Coast, are not required to meet HUD Code standards.
There are many products containing formaldehyde on the market today that are used in all types of building construction – offices, site-built homes, industrial properties, and hotels, to name a few. Products that can produce formaldehyde emissions include, but are not limited to, curtains, drapes, furniture and carpet. Personal care products and tobacco used by occupants can also be contributing factors.
In 1985, HUD identified particleboard and plywood as one of the largest contributing sources of formaldehyde emissions and set health and safety standards for manufactured homes to limit formaldehyde emissions. These standards are met by the industry and enforced by HUD. Since then, the use of gypsum board, which contains no formaldehyde, for walls and ceilings in manufactured housing has largely replaced UF-bonded plywood paneling as the finish material in new homes. Also, the increase in home ventilation rates since 1985 has resulted in an approximate 40% increase in weakening of interior concentrations of airborne pollutants. In 1994, the HUD Code established whole house ventilation requirements for manufactured homes. Under this provision, manufacturers must install a whole house ventilation system. This ventilation system increases the volume of indoor air exhausted from the home and therefore dramatically decreases the level of formaldehyde emissions.
NCMHI does not have reason to believe there is any health risk whatsoever associated with living in manufactured homes. While given today’s press conference, we understand the Governor wanting to ask questions. We appreciate him giving us the chance to respond, and we look forward to answering all the Governor’s questions.