The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received over 3,000 reports from homeowners in 37 states who believe they have problem drywall in their homes. The drywall, which has all come from Chinese manufacturers, has been linked to health problems and corrosion of certain metal components, wiring, air conditioning units, computers, doorknobs and jewelry. On April 2, 2010, the CPSC released remediation guidelines to help homeowners rid their homes of this tainted drywall. The guidelines recommend homeowners remove all possible problem drywall from their homes, and replace electrical components, wiring, gas service piping, fire suppression sprinkler systems, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
ABC News reports that preliminary studies have found that high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas (emitted from problem drywall) together with formaldehyde (which is common in many homes) may be linked to throat, nose and lung irritation. CPSC reports that the top ten sulfur-emitting drywall samples were all produced in China and certain samples had emission rates of hydrogen sulfide 100 times greater than non-Chinese drywall samples.
A lawsuit has been filed in federal court in New Orleans by about 2,100 homeowners against Chinese manufacturers and U.S. companies that sold problem drywall. There are thousands more homeowners who have filed separate claims against Chinese manufacturers still pending.
The CPSC has been active in investigating this problem drywall. For more information, visit CPSC’s Drywall Information Center.
Valerie Paula is an Associate in the Regulatory Affairs Department at Dorsey & Whitney, LLP. Please see our web site at www.dorsey.com.