Burning Eyes

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casiglio

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Jul 6, 2005
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Hello all!!
We just purchased our first trailer, a Jayco Jay Flight 27BH.  Is it common for a new trailer to have fumes that burn your eyes on hot days?  We live in Texas and the fumes have been so strong that we haven't been able to get it stocked, cleaned and ready for a trip we have coming up.
I've heard that the fumes are formaldehyde and are common in new trailers.  Is this true and what can i do to get it aired out once and for all?  I have all the windows and doors open day & night.
Any help or suggestions are appreciated.
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Casiglio,

The answer is yes! The burning sensation is the formaldehyde used in the construction of the coach. I work part time as a PDI tech and Orientation tech at a dealership and there are times when I cannot enter a rig until it is aired out. This will pass but it takes a little time. Be sure to open the windows and vents whenever you can and let it air out. After several days you should see some improvement. Running the air conditioner can also help but I prefer the open windows. Whatever you do don't stay in the rig when it is burning your eyes. Formaldehyde is not good for your system! Extreme heat exacerbates the problem.

 

Chief

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Jul 9, 2005
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12
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Northeastern Pa. USA
We were shopping today, My wife went nuts trying to get out of a new jayco saying it stunk and her eyes burned. It was sorta funny because it happened just as I was reading the 'formaldahyde warning label' at the door.

Salesman said the same thing, it gets worse when they have been closed up and it's hot and humid, so I guess it's not that uncommon. Even though the problem should go away after awhile I'm pretty sure we won't be buying one that has the warning label on it ;D

Hope it works out for you, I think it will for sure. Good Luck.

Chief
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Chief,

It is definitely not uncommon. Until this year I have not seen much in the way of warnings. Apparently there have been a lot of complaints and the mfgrs are trying to cover their tail. If you buy a new rig be sure to keep the windows open as much as possible for several days or weeks. It will go away but it takes time. Hot, humid weather is really bad for formaldehyde.

 

Lorna

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Mar 7, 2005
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I have a cousin who suffers major health problems from formaldehyde poisoning so it is something to be taken very seriously.
 

Jim Dick

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Lorna said:
I have a cousin who suffers major health problems from formaldehyde poisoning so it is something to be taken very seriously.

Lorna,

This is a really serious problem with certain individuals. I believe the RV industry has finally seen the ramifications and are now putting large warning labels on their coaches. I first became aware of it from friends at TGO. He used to work for an RV dealership and told me about the dangers. Since then I have experienced them first hand. I have been in coaches where I had to hold my breath to open windows and turn on the AC before exiting to do the externals. Even then it is sometimes difficult to re-enter the rig to perform the rest of the tests. Formaldehyde is very serious and very obvious when it is hot.

 

Karl

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Here's the link to the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for Formaldehyde (Formalin, among others). Of particular note is that repeated exposure leads to a lessening of the warning signs (smell, eye irritation, trouble breathing, etc.) which can lead to a false sense of security and overexposure. This stuff is BAD!

http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/F5522.htm
 

JoyusWit

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Jul 2, 2005
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Charlotte, NC
Just got our RV today.. a fifth wheel.. and my boyfriend kept saying his eyes were burning.. it must be the cleaning chemicals they used today before our walkthrough..I told him I thought it was just the newness of the RV.. well glad this forum is here.. I just went outside and opened several windows and left the bathroom fan on and the ceiling fan to get some fresh air cirulating..

thank you all for your advice..and for asking the question..

JOY
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Joy,

Congratulations on your new 5er. Keep those windows open as much as you can. Extremely hot days are really bad.

 

JoyusWit

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Jul 2, 2005
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Charlotte, NC
Ron said:
Joy,

Congratulations on you 5th wheel.? I'm sure you will enjoy it.? What brand did you get?

HI Ron.. Nice to meet you.. and thanks alot, we are so so excited..we are a young couple that got tired of tent camping or paying high costs for motel/hotel expenses..plus eating out.. so we decided to make the plunge and get a larger truck.. a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500.. and we now are proud owners of a 2005 Forest River Wildcat.. it's the Mauve interior one w/ the rear kitchen.. we absolutely fell inlove with it when we saw it..

Jim Dick said:
Hi Joy,

Congratulations on your new 5er. Keep those windows open as much as you can. Extremely hot days are really bad.

Jim...Hey there to you too... Yes the windows have been open now almost 24 hrs..and I have been in there today doing some stuff.. you know how we ladies are.. gotta get dimensions and stuff so we can decorate..haha.. but we have had the door open and all the vents and windows and will continue to do so until the smell lessens..

Let me ask you guys something, how long could this really take to go away..or at least to the point where it won't be toxic to inhale it??We have a 4 day vacation planned for end of the month.. It concerns me now.. I wish I had read all of this before the final purchase, we may have went w/ the 2003 Wildcat..it looked totally brandnew..and we almost got it. but thought for a little more money and warranty and such.. we would splurge a bit.. I have not read all the owners manuals ..but does it state usually anywhere about this Formaldehyde?? I only thought this stuff was used to imbalm people..? ;D?

Thanks again for your welcome and responses to we new RVers..

ps..I am learning new lingo.. we are now called 5'ers right? too cool..
 

Ron

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Home is where we park it
wit said:
HI Ron.. Nice to meet you.. and thanks alot, we are so so excited..we are a young couple that got tired of tent camping or paying high costs for motel/hotel expenses..plus eating out.. so we decided to make the plunge and get a larger truck.. a 2005 Dodge Ram 2500.. and we now are proud owners of a 2005 Forest River Wildcat.. it's the Mauve interior one w/ the rear kitchen.. we absolutely fell inlove with it when we saw it..

I'm sure you and your family will get much enjoyment from you new 5th wheel.  Congratulations again.
 

Jim Dick

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Titusville, FL
Jim...Hey there to you too... Yes the windows have been open now almost 24 hrs..and I have been in there today doing some stuff.. you know how we ladies are.. gotta get dimensions and stuff so we can decorate..haha.. but we have had the door open and all the vents and windows and will continue to do so until the smell lessens..

Let me ask you guys something, how long could this really take to go away..or at least to the point where it won't be toxic to inhale it? We have a 4 day vacation planned for end of the month.. It concerns me now.. I wish I had read all of this before the final purchase, we may have went w/ the 2003 Wildcat..it looked totally brandnew..and we almost got it. but thought for a little more money and warranty and such.. we would splurge a bit.. I have not read all the owners manuals ..but does it state usually anywhere about this Formaldehyde?  I only thought this stuff was used to imbalm people..  ;D 

Thanks again for your welcome and responses to we new RVers..

ps..I am learning new lingo.. we are now called 5'ers right? too cool..

Hi Joy,

I understand your need to be in the rig. :) I can't say for sure how long it will take. It depends upon how much is actually in the unit. I would think you should be OK by the end of the month but I would still leave the windows open as much as possible on your vacation. It will dissapate eventually.

Manufacturers never told anyone about the formaldehyde in the past. They do now! Some units have very large signs posted for the consumer. I think there is probably more formaldehyde being used. It's funny as some rigs you cannot walk into them when they've been closed up on hot days and others are just fine. I've noticed, however, that more and more are harder to enter. I was in one Friday for all of about a minute and my eyes were burning and it was hard to breath. I got out as fast as I could!!

I, too, thought formaldehyde was only for embalming. Well, at least not used in the production of furniture, etc. :) We all learn new things everyday.

Yes, fifth wheels are referred to as 5ers. You'll have all the lingo down very quickly if you stick around here. ;)

 

Jim Dick

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Karl said:
Formaldehyde is used a lot in that foam insulation that you squirt in from a can and then it expands to fill the voids. It think "Stuff" is one of the brand names.

Hi Karl,

It appears formaldehyde is used in a lot of things that many consumers know nothing about! Glad to see the RV industry has begun to educate consumers to the fact they do use it. Unfortunately it was probably inspired by a lawsuit.



 

Karl

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Jim,

I'm sure you're right. A lot of lawsuits are frivilous, but there are some that are needed to bring about change. Asbestos is a good example.

I did a couple years as a tech inspector for CART, and during a race one of us was assigned to each car to watch for rules and safety violations. You could hardly breathe for all the formaldehyde that was created by the methanol being burned. The rear tire changers and starter man got the worst of it. I'm sure they had no idea what they were breathing on a daily basis.
 

Jim Dick

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Karl,

I'm sure there has been a lot of bad stuff we've been breathing for years that mfgrs didn't want to tell us about. I agree most lawsuits are frivilous and should never see a court room but some are very important to our well being. I learned about the formaldehyde from a friend at TGO who used to work in the RV industry. Amazing how quickly I realized something was wrong after he mentioned it! Before that I had no clue as they were not putting any obvious warning labels in the units. Now I have seen 8 1/2 X 11 signs in several different rigs.

 

iceee

Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
Posts
7
Wow i am impressed I am new on this forum and I have learned alot already!!  We just went last night to look at a used 5th wheel and I was impressed that it still smelled new, however my 11 yr old daughter complained of her eyes burning, I had no idea why. Now I do, so if we decide to purchase, which we are leaning that way, how long should I air it out? 
 

Jim Dick

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Location
Titusville, FL
iceee said:
Wow i am impressed I am new on this forum and I have learned alot already!!  We just went last night to look at a used 5th wheel and I was impressed that it still smelled new, however my 11 yr old daughter complained of her eyes burning, I had no idea why. Now I do, so if we decide to purchase, which we are leaning that way, how long should I air it out? 

Hi iceee,

Welcome to the forum. Glad you found us before you purchased. You will be able to ask any of your questions and get good answers.

It's hard to say how long it will take. I imagine it depends upon how much formaldehyde was used in the manufacturing process. That can vary from rig to rig. If you can leave the windows open for a week or so I'm sure a lot of it might dissipate. As stated earlier it's much worse when the weather is extremely hot. I've noticed higher end motorhomes don't seem to have the problem. They use more "real" wood than the less expensive models. I don't know if this is true with 5ers and trailers.

 

iceee

Member
Joined
Jul 22, 2005
Posts
7
Thank you Jim,
I am learning.  We are pretty sure we are going to purchase the fifth wheel on Monday.  I will be sure to air it out!  I will have other questions I am sure
Marissa
 
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