Dispatch: New Orleans Times Picayune Formalde-Hides the Truth

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On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency held a stakeholders phone conference announcing a draft document on the toxicology of formaldehyde inhalation and exposure.

The 1043-page draft was created in light of public fears of formaldehyde levels found in FEMA trailers that housed Hurricane Katrina survivors. The EPA briefly summarized the draft by correlating a 1 in 1000 risk of developing cancer (within a lifetime) with inhalation of air containing 10-20 parts per billion of formaldehyde, but did not suggest a causal relationship.

The following day, however, The Times Picayune in New Orleans ran a story announcing that “Formaldehyde Causes Cancer.”

ACSH's Jeff Stier is also concerned by this report, given the draft’s demand, “DO NOT CITE OR QUOTE,” found on each page of the document. “In this era of transparency, I certainly hope they were simply telling others not to quote this draft as conclusive,” he says, “But that’s exactly what’s happening. The Times Picayune did. This will needlessly scare those who suffered through Katrina, and embolden their lawyers.”