Two U.S. senators are urging the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to recall Chinese-made drywall.
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fl.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), have filed new legislation aimed at initiating a recall and imposing an immediate ban on importing “tainted building products from China,” to protect consumers in the future.
The bill also asks the Commission to work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and federal testing labs to determine the level of hazard posed by certain chemicals and unidentified compounds in the drywall.
The CPSC currently has no safety standards for drywall. The bill asks the agency to determine whether a consumer-product-safety standard regulating the composition of materials used in drywall is necessary to protect the health and safety of residential homeowners.
It also calls for the Treasury Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development to “take all possible steps to provide mortgage relief and other assistance to homeowners that are affected by tainted drywall from China.
One of the biggest concerns about the defective drywall is that it could corrode electric wiring, leading to possible new hazards, says Nelson.
Lawyers are investigating complaints in other states along with Florida.
More people across the country are reporting problems in homes built with imported drywall. A Herald-Tribune analysis of shipping records showed that since 2006, more than 550 million pounds of drywall from China entered the U.S. – enough to make more than 60,000 homes. The amount offloaded in Florida could build 36,000 homes.
In addition to lawsuits on behalf of Florida homeowners, a class-action lawsuit was recently filed by an Alabama home builder that has made air conditioning repairs on at least two dozen homes. And another class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Louisiana homeowners.
The breadth of the problem is just unfolding. California, Louisiana and Virginia also have tainted drywall products.
How can you tell if your home might have tainted Chinese drywall? Below are some general guidelines and symptoms:
If a homeowner or family member has been experiencing severe nose bleeds, headaches, allergies, nausea or dizziness, trouble breathing or upper respiratory problems since moving into the house. If the symptoms seem to disappear when leaving the home for an extended period of time.
Your home or condominium has a sulfur or rotten egg smell, especially when all the windows and doors are closed and the water is not running.
The home or condominium air conditioning unit may have had several repairs caused by corroded wires or pipes.
The contaminated Chinese drywall may be emitting one of several sulfur compounds including sulfur dioxide or hydrogen sulfide. While exposure to fumes from sulfur dioxide can create breathing and irritation problems, exposure to hydrogen sulfide can be deadly.
IB partner, Gerry McGill, of McGill Law Firm also has some helpful tips that will help you to determine if you have toxic drywall in your home.
Residents Talk to InjuryBoard
A respondent to IB News- Honolulu says that the wallboard may actually be Chinese magnesium oxide board, also called Mag Board, MgO Board and Dragon Board. Wet it and it releases magnesium chloride, corrosive to metal, he says. Heat it and it releases magnesium oxide fumes.
Another person writes that the inspector told her to look at the drywall on the walls, not the ceiling, because Chinese drywall doesn’t stay flat enough to make a ceiling.
There is not necessarily a smell, writes another, but corrosive pipes and wiring. Wayne Parson’s blog has at least two dozen people who appear to be impacted by the Chinese drywall.
Joe Saunders, IB partner from Sarasota, adds to the conversation as does Steve Lombardi from Iowa who says that the Chinese government’s secret closed government, lack of independent media and of civil litigation with its requirement for full disclosure, all serve to keep information secret and the public in the dark. #