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VENICE, La. — In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, they became a symbol of the government’s inept response to that disaster: the 120,000 or so trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to people who had lost their homes.
The trailers were discovered to have such high levels of formaldehyde that the government banned them from ever being used for long-term housing again.
Some of the trailers, though, are getting a second life amid the latest disaster here — as living quarters for workers involved with the cleanup of the oil spill.
Ron Mason, owner of a disaster contracting firm, Alpha 1, said that in the past two weeks he had sold more than 20 of the trailers to cleanup workers and the companies that employ them in Venice and Grand Isle, La.
Even though federal regulators have said the trailers are not to be used for housing because of formaldehyde’s health risks, Mr. Mason said some of these workers had bought them so they could be together with their wives and children after work.