Senator Nelson Demands Feds Fix Chinese Drywall Problem

April 8, 2009

By Jonathan Cohen:

Senator Bill Nelson (FL-D) is demanding that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) do its job and address the defective Chinese drywall plaguing Florida citizens.  To date, the CPSC and Chairperson Nancy Nord have completely failed to do anything about this problem, said Nelson during a Tuesday visit to Bradenton area homes containing Chinese drywall.  In an effort to tackle this ongoing problem, Senator Nelson recently proposed legislation calling for the CPSC to recall defective drywall and to ban future importation of defective drywall.  This week, Nelson is touring Florida homes throughout the state, getting a first-hand look at the problems caused by the defective drywall, and speaking to concerned homeowners looking for assistance.

If you live in Florida, you’ve probably seen a lot of news coverage about area homes and homeowners affected by Chinese drywall and the multitude of problems it’s causing. In case you haven’t heard about the defective drywall plaguing Florida, here’s a brief summary:

Many homes constructed between 2004 and 2007 were built using drywall imported from China due to a shortage of American-made drywall. Reports and shipping records indicate that approximately 550 million pounds of drywall was imported from China during this time period, and that more than half of it was used to build Florida homes. Other states that imported at least 1 million pounds of Chinese drywall include: California, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Washington. The amount of defective drywall used in Florida was enough to build an estimated 36,000 homes.

The Chinese drywall, which is made from naturally-mined gypsum (a common mineral), has a distinct sulphur or “rotten egg” smell. In addition to giving off noxious odors, the gases emitted from the defective drywall cause major home systems, such as air conditioners, plumbing, and electrical appliances, to fail by corroding copper wiring and piping. It also tarnishes metals throughout the home. Multiple homeowners have raised health concerns, complaining of headaches, nosebleeds, and respiratory problems since coming into contact with defective drywall.

Wondering whether your home contains defective Chinese drywall? Here’s what to look for:

__ Was your home built between 2004 and 2007 or was your home renovated during these years?

__ Has your home had a sulphur or “rotten egg” smell for a significant time period?

__ Has your heating or air conditioning system prematurely failed?

__ Are the copper pipes on your air conditioning handler blackened or corroded?

__ Is the copper tubing located at the back of your refrigerator blackened or corroded?

__ Have any metals in your home, such as door hinges, doorstops, pipes, bathroom fixtures,

     silverware, or jewelry blackened?

__ Has the copper on the sides of your electrical sockets (behind the faceplate) blackened?

__ Does any of the drywall in your home (including the attic) have “Knauf” or “Tianjin” stamped

     or printed on it?

If you answered “yes” to more than one of the following, your home may contain defective Chinese drywall. In the interest of the health and safety of your family and your home, the Consumer Warning Network recommends that you contact your homebuilder, the Florida Department of Health, and the CPSC. Your homebuilder may cover the expense of hiring a professional testing company to sample and test the air and drywall in your home. In the event that your homebuilder does not offer to test your drywall, you may want to hire a private testing company at your own expense. There are several reputable companies specializing in such tests.

The Department of Health is currently investigating health concerns related to defective Chinese drywall and is accepting drywall samples for inclusion in its ongoing research. If you’re interested in contributing to this important investigation, you can contact the Department of Health at the address below. Finally, we recommend that you submit an online complaint to the CPSC using the link below. Senator Nelson has already requested that the CPSC investigate and address the problems caused by Chinese drywall. By filing an online complaint with the CPSC, you can help send the message that Chinese drywall is a serious problem that demands immediate attention.

Florida Department of Health, HSEC

4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A08

Tallahassee, FL 32399

Facsimile: (850) 414-9069

E-mail: corrosioninvestigation@doh.state.fl.us

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Complaint Form:

https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/incident.aspx