The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has a new section on their website dedicated to address concerns about Chinese-made drywall used in homes in the years 2006 and 2007. How widespread a problem this is remains to be seen. So far, there have been 365 complaints coming from 18 states and the District of Columbia.
From Consumer Reports:
Tests of the Chinese-made drywall conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that it contains at least three materials not found in drywall produced in the U.S. The tested drywall contained sulfur, strontium at levels ten times as high as in U.S. drywall and two other organic compounds generally found in acrylic paint that have not been detected in any U.S.-made wallboard.“We now know there are three things in there that aren’t in other drywall samples,” said Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) who has been working to provide homeowners with relief. “We’ve got the ‘what’ and now we need the ‘why’—and, how do we fix it? In the end, I think all this stuff is going to have to be ripped out.”
People are noticing a rotten egg smell and that their copper plumbing and air conditioning coils are turning black. Clearly, that's from the elevated sulfur levels in the drywall. It's important to remember that this new cry is being raised by personal injury lawyers, so let the exaggerated claims begin.
So remember, there have been 365 complaints from people in 18 different states. But check out this copy from a personal injury attorney who specializes in Chinese drywall litigation:
The Chinese drywall housing crisis is spreading across this country. Tens of thousands of homeowners are suffering from contamination in their homes causing health problems and plunging property values. Defective Chinese drywall wrecks electrical systems, air conditioning systems, and exposed metal throughout your home. The sulfur contamination causes a terrible odor that will not go away, and creates a corrosive atmosphere that requires immediate attention. The members of our legal team are fighting for our clients across the country, including the battleground states of Florida and Virginia. Hidden legal deadlines in the construction or closing documents are shutting off many victims from making any recovery for this catastrophe. Don't let your dream home become a permanent nightmare: contact us for immediate legal assistance.
I don't doubt for a second that this is a real issue and I'm not questioning that it's going to need to be fixed. But can we please proceed calmly? The sulfur is behind the rotten egg smell, but sulfur won't kill you. The potential problem here is the strontium levels, but strontium exposure doesn't have any glamorous symptoms. I'd be curious to know how it got there in the first place. It sounds like our great trading partners to the east are using fly ash to make drywall.
I know it's a lot to ask, but since I've already asked for calm, can we please learn a lesson from this too? First, it was lead in the toys. Then it was melamine in the dog food and baby formula. Cheap stuff from China has proven itself yet again, to be no bargain. Now, what steps can we take to avoid a repeat of this situation. Anyone? Anyone?