Monthly Archives: September 2009

Chinese Drywall Problems Continue

When the Chinese drywall problem first surfaced earlier this year, officials believed it to be a problem isolated in the state of Florida, or at the very least affecting only the southeast United States. But the problem has grown as homeowners from 24 different states have filed more than 1,500 complaints with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Part of the problem’s size is directly related to the housing booming 4-5 years ago when housing manufacturers imported tons of the Chinese drywall in order to keep up with construction demands. During that time, enough of the Chinese drywall was imported into Florida to build 30,000 homes.
Now these homes built with the defective drywall are unlivable and have plummeted in value. Besides the horrific odor caused by the drywall, household electrical appliances have been corroded to the point they’re no longer capable of functioning. Noxious gases emitted from the Chinese drywall have affected HVAC systems, smoke detectors, and metal plumbing appliances as well.
Remediation efforts are underway in some states, particularly Virginia which has the third highest number of complaints filed. Homeowners have been uprooted from their primary residences, children have been forced to make longer commutes to school or switch schools altogether because of the problem, and some have complained that the Chinese drywall has affected their health. At this point, there’s no link between the contaminated drywall and health but the investigation is ongoing.
Consumer advocates have warned homeowners not to hastily agree to remediation agreements since no protocols for the cleanup have been established. Another problem concerns the exact composition of the Chinese drywall remains unclear. The drywall was used in the first place because it was plentiful and cheap. It was inexpensive precisely because it was manufactured with discarded materials of an unknown composition.
At this point, there’s no positive news to report concerning the Chinese drywall debacle.