March 13, 2010
I worked as a volunteer as chair of the Mississippi Chapter of Sierra Club for a number of years working on issues like wetlands protection and toxics when we were devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Soon after people starting receiving FEMA trailers, many people were getting sick. After one couple tested their trailer and found high formaldehyde levels, we were able to get funding to purchase test kits to see how widespread the problem was.
What we found was shocking. About nine out of ten trailers initially tested were over recommendations for even 15 minutes of exposure. Sierra Club helped us publicize those testing results, and we followed up with testing over the next four years that confirmed a continuing problem.
Sierra Club also helped us bring witnesses to Congressional hearings on this to put a personal face on the problem. And, very significantly, Sierra Club followed up with major campaigns to encourage EPA to develop standards to protect Americans from toxic formaldehyde exposure. The club has also supported legislation now in both the House and Senate to adopt formaldehyde regulations that should have been in place decades ago.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
being able to have an impact on people's health by exposing this problem and working to find solutions to prevent people from being exposed to toxic levels of formaldehyde in the future.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
make an even bigger dent in offsetting the pervasive influence big industry has when it uses campaign finance contributions and tainted scientific research to try to prevent regulations to protect people's health.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every week
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & I helped oversee testing of the FEMA trailers, organized press conferences to publicize the results, and provided advise and assistance to people suffering from health problems in the trailers.