One year ago today, an earthquake struck the Sichuan Province in China. The earthquake was the 19th deadliest of all time. Early surveys indicate that over 170,000 square miles were affected at a level of “slightly damaging”, and over 1200 square miles on the level of “devastating”. As of May 7th,, 2009, there are 68,712 dead and more than 17,923 missing. With such excessive damage, rebuilding has been required on a massive scale.
In late April of 2009, media outlets reported that families displaced by the Sichuan Earthquake housed in Temporary Housing Units (THUs) were experiencing health related problems due to the buildings. There is speculation that formaldehyde is the culprit. While FAS has no direct evidence to support or discredit this claim, the work we did on air quality in emergency housing built after Hurricane Katrina makes it possible to make some informed guesses about what is happening in China.
To this end, we’ve put together an article looking at the potential indoor air quality problems in China, with proposed solutions moving forward. The paper can be found here.