The federal government has recently announced a multi-agency investigation of drywall imported from China that is suspected of releasing sulfur gases – believed to be causing unusual metal corrosion and health problems.
Until recently, drywall problems have been found mainly in Florida, but a Washington, D.C. based research group that works on class action lawsuits, says it is now getting complaints from California, Arizona, Ohio, Texas, Louisiana, Nevada, the Carolinas, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia and other states. A number of class-action lawsuits have recently been filed in Florida, where some builders are moving residents out of their home and replacing suspect drywall.
The drywall products used in U.S. homes have traditionally been made in this country, but that changed beginning in 2004 as first, a building boom, and then rebuilding made necessary by hurricanes Katrina and Rita depleted domestic supply.
The Florida Department of Health says it has received more than 140 complaints from homeowners and is still trying to determine if the drywall is causing serious health problems.
The suspect drywall is being found in homes built or remodeled since 2004. Among the indicators:
- The home may have a slight or strong, sulfur, rotten egg or even acid type smell;
- Air conditioning coils, stove top and oven elements, and refrigerators may be failing at an unusually high rate – often within 1 year or less;
- Silver jewelry/flatware may be tarnishing within months or even weeks. Mirrors may turn black; and,
- Since moving into the home, a homeowner or family member may have experienced symptoms of severe allergies, nose bleeds, or upper respiratory problems. If that person leaves the home for an extended period of time, these symptoms may disappear.
The Herald Tribune of Sarasota recently reported that at least 550 million pounds of Chinese drywall have come through U.S. ports since 2006 – enough drywall to build at least 60,000 homes.