Desperation due to a domestic shortage of drywall during the housing boom, combined with a cheap available alternative, led builders to import drywall from China between 2004 -2008.
Homeowners with Chinese manufactured drywall are now complaining of corrosion of copper and other metals, a noxious odor, and health problems.
The Florida Department of Health has launched a site dedicated to the Chinese drywall issue and released the following five signs that may indicate the presence of Chinese drywall in your home:
- There is presence of sulfur-like or other unusual odors
- Confirmed presence of Chinese manufactured drywall in the home
- Observed copper corrosion, indicated by black, sooty coating of un-insulated copper pipe leading to the air handling unit present in the garage or mechanical closet of home
- Documented failure of air conditioner evaporator coil (located inside the air handling unit)
- Confirmation by an outside expert or professional for the presence of premature copper corrosion on un-insulated copper wires and/or air conditioner evaporator coils (inside the air handling unit).
In addition, exposure to Chinese Drywall has also been tied to health complaints including, but not limited to, breathing and sinus problems, chest pain, physical ailments and symptoms including coughing, irritated eyes, sneezing, sinus problems, sore throat, asthma, difficulty breathing, runny nose, bloody nose, fatigue, headaches, dizziness and nausea. To date there is not enough data to make a determination.
The first piece of federal legislation related to defective Chinese drywall has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. The Drywall Safety Act of 2009, introduced by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) in March, seeks a recall of Chinese drywall and to ban the import of such materials made in China.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance has scheduled the hearing for 10:30 a.m. on May 21.
Hundreds of homeowners have already filed Chinese drywall lawsuits against the manufacturers, exporters, suppliers, retailers and builders associated with the defective wall board. The complaints seek compensation for problems caused by the drywall, including the cost of repairs, which may involve replacing every piece of drywall in their newly constructed homes.
The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is scheduled to hear arguments later this month about whether to consolidate all federal lawsuits over Chinese drywall that have been filed in various districts throughout several states before one judge for coordinated handling during pretrial litigation.