A federal district judge has been asked to certify a class made up of hurricane victims allegedly exposed to formaldehyde while living in FEMA trailers. Formadehyde is a preservative that used in construction materials. It has been classified as a carcinogen and is associated with breathing problems. At the hearing, the judge heard expert testimony about the effects of formaldehyde exposure and the levels of formaldehyde found in many of the trailers used as temporary shelters after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Tests by the CDC showed formaldehyde levels in the FEMA trailers were on average five times higher than those generally found in new homes.

The judge must now decide whether the claims can properly be heard as a class or whether the issues will be too different from cases to case and the claims should be handled individually.

For the full story, go to the Houston Chronicle.