In an earlier article, I criticized the CDC for not taking into account the fact that cigarette smoke contains lots of formaldehyde, when they measured formaldehyde concentrations in the trailers.
Now I'm thinking that there could be an explanation...
Bear in mind that these CDC guys are far from stupid. They know quite well that cigarette smoke contains formaldehyde. Indeed, many of them probably also know that occupancies with smokers can have up to THREE TIMES the normal level of formaldehyde.
So, why didn't they run a test for a marker for cigarette smoke while they were testing for formaldehyde, and just eliminate the smokers' trailers from the final results?
Simple. FEMA is already digging out from a PR disaster. How would it have helped to essentially "blame the victim"?
Think about it. Mr. Trailer Dweller has been complaining about health effects caused by high concentrations of formaldehyde in his trailer. Suppose they tell him that his "high concentration" was actually a result of his smoking--and by the way, smoking is also bad for your health, sunny Jim!
Why, that would never do, since the FEMA trailer dwellers have now become a protected victim class.
As the agency and the trailer manufacturers are finding out: No good deed goes unpunished.
I'm betting that the next time FEMA wants to buy some trailers, they're going to have a real hard time finding vendors--even with their new 16 parts-per-billion standard. Unless they indemnify the manufacturers, they will just come up empty.