Chinese Toxic Drywall

Imported Drywall, A Toxic Situation
By, JR Hafer

Very few people outside of the drywall industry actually realize how huge the toxic drywall affair really is. For the most part, government studies are ongoing and the builders involved continue with a wait and see mindset.
The truth of the matter is; certainly, no one knows what to do about the problem of defective toxic imported drywall.The circling lawyers overhead can certainly smell the money when a potential lawsuit presents itself.
This toxic poisonous drywall situation will involve more than a few thousand people who now find they are having health problems with unpleasant living conditions in a mere 100,000 homes built with the contaminated noxious materials in southern Florida.
Homeowners should be aware of any signs of potential problems that may “run up red flags”, not only those who built new homes from 2004 to 2007, but also those who have added living area, remodeled, refurbished or made repairs and used any type of drywall between 2001 and 2009.
There are many tell tale signs that may indicate toxic drywall problems. Are your mirrors turning darker? Is your jewelry tarnished more than usual? Are you having electrical and air conditioning problems? Are your electric switches getting warmer than they should be? How about sparking of light fixtures? Is there a “rotten egg” aroma in the air or smoke alarms going off? Is the copper wiring in your house getting darker and darker and bath fixtures becoming more and more tarnished? These are but a few indications of potential problems.Additionally, serious health problems can be caused by the defective toxic drywall, such as reoccurring nosebleeds, asthma-like symptoms, lung damage, stroke, and neurological damage causing palsy.
The sulfur “rotten egg” smell and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are also known to cause skin irritation and various lung problems. These are all things to be cautious of. No one has yet formulated a viable plan. However, I can tell you if you suspect that your house has defective drywall, you should get out of your home until you get your drywall tested. Just like breathing bleach and ammonia, it can damage your lungs permanently. Naturally occurring sulfur compounds are emitted when the heat and humidity levels rise in your house.There has been no deaths, as of yet, confirmed. But I suspect it will be a lot like the asbestos problem, it took a long time for health concerns to become evident. I predict the health risks will be ever increasing and the toxic drywall problem will remain with us for a very long time.Abandoned houses and foreclosed homes with toxic drywall will continue to be on the rise in the near future and most likely a good number of them will be remarketed, perhaps, increasing exposure to toxic drywall.
Recently, builders have considered replacing the toxic drywall in affected houses. However, the replacing of the drywall, electrical wiring, plumbing and fixtures isn’t enough. Builders are now discovering that the wood in the houses is certain to have absorbed the toxic gaseous materials, as well. There is also evidence of radioactive emissions from these materials. Where does it stop?
Builders and suppliers, along with government agencies, are going to find out along with the public, that this imported Chinese toxic drywall may be a greater more complicated deal than they ever expected. Remediation of the toxic drywall will be most difficult. Health problems and lawsuits are surely to follow.It will indeed be a problem of great proportion with multi-culpability attached to it.

5 Responses to “Chinese Toxic Drywall”

  • Myra says:

    From what I understand there will be a wave of Chinese Drywall homes showing up on the market fort years. Do you suppose there will be a real health problem when people buy these foreclosures at bargan basement prices without knowing there is a problem? Then who will pay the bills stemming from this toxic drywall?

  • I saw our Government move so fast recently with the economic stimulus plan, it blew a lot of American’s sock off. Here we are with an issue that will require Government intervention, and they are dragging their feet. If Chinese Drywall had affect the pocket of Wall Street guru’s, or dropped the value in a Congressmen or Senator’s investment portfolio, I could almost bet the family the issue would have been addressed and resolution on its way.. I could almost bet you there would have been immediate action. Due to the fact that this problem is only affecting 100,000 homeowners at present, it doesn’t have a priority with our Government. Shame on them. It almost makes you scared to buy a home in the coming months. You just won’t know until you have it tested. Oh yeah, there is presently no way to test economically for Chinese Drywall. It will cost the homeowner up in the neighborhood of $100,000 to repair the home and replace all their belonging. That means up to and including your appliances, furniture and most everything else in the house. The last but not least of the problems is you have to move out while all of this is going on. This is your home, where will you GO?????? For those that this doesn’t affect, it could. For those it does affect, you are being called to action. Write your Congressman and Senator’s.

  • Lily says:

    This is a very interesting article. Very informative!

  • Larry says:

    This problem is definitely not going to go away by itself and the only ones who could possibly profit from it are most likely the lawyers. I concur that the real problem will be the re-sales of foreclosed and abandoned homes, simply because of the time lag and the forgetfulness of the human race in general. But this problem is being exacerbated by the fact that south Florida has had this same on-going problem caused by the low concentration of natural sulphur in the Floridan aquifer, as evidenced by the sulphur water springs along the Florida west coast as well as the FL northeast coast. The low levels of sulphides in Florida waters have caused rapid tarnishing of table silver for as long as people have had silver table service here.

    This is not to make light of this new source of sulphur in our environment. The stuff that is already installed is the cause of concern; the rest of the solution is simply ban the use of drywall products in Florida that were manufactured in foreign countries; and perhaps also in those areas of this country where the presence of sulphur springs indicate a potential problem. So, it’s up to our legislators to evaluate according to their “pocketbooks” how bad a problem they think it is! But, do I trust them to do the right thing! It requires an informed public to get anything done right.

  • Don says:

    Very good article.

    I’m a firm believer that everyone involved with this ugly issue has been victimized by an unfortunate set of circumstances, which is to say that nearly everyone involved had only the best of intentions originally. A tremendous amount of pressure was put on the supply-chain to get that house built thru that time era.

    So, the entire industry has suffered yet another devastating sucker-punch at a time when it could least afford it. Sadly, this situation has not just resulted a “black eye”…many are hemmoraging…and realtors are caught in the crossfire of this battle.

    The parents of a child with chronic illness trapped with no ability to leave… the retired couple who unwittingly moved into a “sick” home with subsequent zero support from their builder… the stigma of a beautiful neighbourhood with reactive drywall issues (and the resulting plummeting property values)… the list goes on and on.

    As one involved in the professional remediation of such homes, one single, definitive point needs to be made…

    “Regardless of how or why reactive drywall came into the structure, the leading health and construction experts all agree that the reactive drywall MUST be removed in it’s entirety, with particular attention to HEPA micro-cleaning of the entire interior shell prior to installation of the new gypsum.”

    Very few homeowners will be either able or willing to invest $70,000 + in remediating their home in such a manner. Will the government be? Only time will tell.

    The clock keeps on ticking.

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