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FEMA Extends Formaldehyde Testing Contract with Bureau Veritas
Date:3/25/2009

NEW ORLEANS, March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The US Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has extended its existing contract with Bureau Veritas North America for a period of six months to continue the formaldehyde testing of temporary housing units (THUs) in Louisiana and Mississippi. FEMA exercised its option on the contract based on its desire to continue to provide formaldehyde sampling services for temporary housing occupants. The contract is currently projected to end on August 14, 2009.

Bureau Veritas, a global quality assurance, health, safety, and environmental services firm, was contracted to test for formaldehyde levels in trailers in February of 2008, and since that time has sampled close to 4,000 units. All work has been performed by trained and experienced health and safety consultants, under the supervision of Certified Industrial Hygienists. Samples are being submitted to an American Industrial Hygiene Association accredited laboratory for analysis. The contract was intended to develop additional data on the levels of formaldehyde off-gassing from building materials used to construct the units, and other potential sources of formaldehyde inside the units.

The contract work grew from a previous study by the Centers for Disease Control that demonstrated an average of 77 parts per billion in 519 units sampled by Bureau Veritas. Residents of the THUs had voiced concerns about air quality in the trailers and the occurrence of respiratory and other symptoms that the residents felt resulted from exposure to formaldehyde or other respiratory irritants. FEMA continues to inform occupants about the levels of formaldehyde being found in those units that have been sampled. The FEMA program is voluntary and the sampling is performed in response to occupant requests to their local FEMA officials.

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