The air inside the trailers was so dangerous that FEMA warned its own employees about the danger of merely stepping inside to test the air -- much less spending months, if not years, living in one of these toxic tin cans.
This sad saga has followed a now-predictable pattern of Bush administration incompetence. Whistleblowing, denial. Media investigation and confirmation, more denial. More complaints, insult the victim. Congressional investigations, still more denial. Quiet acknowledgment of fault, then foot-dragging and inaction.
Then as only it can do, the Bush administration added insult to injury by needlessly visiting its incompetence on countless others. Long after the dangers were widely known, the administration tried to send the trailers to victims of a tornado in Kansas, Native Americans in South Dakota (something one person likened to "modern smallpox blankets") , victims of the California wildfires, and then even wanted to sell thousands to the general public.
The alarm was sounded again today -- this time from within the administration itself. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed that the formaldehyde levels inside the trailers rose to as much as 40 times the level considered dangerous. "We do not want people exposed to this for very much longer," a CDC official said. Unfortunately, about 35,000 people are still living in the toxic trailers.
It's hard to decide which is more toxic: formaldehyde or the Bush legacy?