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Chinese drywall deemed dangerous by the Feds
by Kathryn Robbins on April 3, 2010
Contractors, builders, and other professions within the housing industry have been busy in recent years. New home construction kept some occupied while others cleaned up after Hurricane Katrina. They may have repaired or erected thousands of homes, but they also left behind toxic drywall made in China according to a new report.
The problem with drywall manufactured in China is the ridiculous amount of hydrogen sulfide. According to the findings of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), some Chinese made drywall had levels 100 times that of non-Chinese samples.
HUD and CPSC have a drastic and costly solution to the problem. Homeowners must get rid of the drywall, gas lines, electrical wiring, sprinkler systems, carbon monoxide and smoke alarms. Why would HUD and the CPSC tell homeowners to literally gut their homes? A high level of hydrogen sulfide can wreak havoc not only on the home but also the homeowner.
Chinese drywall leaks sulfuric gases that coat metal fixtures like pipes and can make people sick. Cases popped up like Carlene Hernandez, a nurse from Louisiana who couldn’t figure out why her young children were coming down from a litany of respiratory illnesses. Brian Eisenberg from Florida couldn’t pin down why his wife suddenly suffered from series of nosebleeds. A family that survived Katrina moved back into their repaired home to see their microwave almost catch on fire. The study pinned stories like these on the corrosive quality of hydrogen sulfide.
The real question is how these families will pay to make their homes healthier. Brian Eisenberg removed the Chinese drywall from his home and later had to inject the walls with foam to get rid of the chemicals. The entire operation cost him $150,000. Others like the Hernandez family are looking towards the courts, but many Chinese firms are balking at the possibility of even appearing in a US courtroom.
US legislators were foaming at the mouth when toys made in China were found with high levels of lead back in 2007. It was the year before a Presidential election and elected officials took the opportunity to pass legislation and some scored a lot of free face time with the media. Drywall isn’t a headline grabber like sick children, but they should listen to their constituents that are taking hits to their finances and the health of their families.