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Chinese Drywall: “What Is It?”
The consortium now believes that many more US homes particularly in Florida, South-east Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana have toxic Chinese drywall than previous calculations. Many homes in the US have toxic Chinese drywall INTERMIXED with US made drywall. If these homes were built or remodeled after 2001, we believe a small amount of imported Chinese drywall is enough to make an entire house toxic. The Gulf Coast is also of concern due to storm damaged homes which have been rebuilt during this same time period. The net result is instead of ending up with tens of thousands of now toxic US South-east homes, we are convinced we have 100,000′s of toxic US homes.”. Contact us to have your home tested.
Is Toxic Chinese Drywall A National Problem?
Yes, However there is a problem with discovering US States-outside of the extreme US South-east with toxic Chinese drywall. “We now think that the reason we have found so much toxic Chinese drywall in the US South, or South-east is high heat, combined with high humidity.” The group believes the high heat-high humidity combination may be the cause of the imported Chinese drywall-off gassing, which causes AC coil failures, creating metal deterioration, copper that turns black, electrical issues in the homes, combined with upper respiratory issues, nose bleeds, headaches for most home-owners, or their family members.
Because the US North-east, Mid West & or the Western half of the US do not have high thresholds of humidity; severe metal deterioration may not occur in homes with Chinese drywall, but the home-owners may still be sick. The group is trying to determine the best ways to discover toxic Chinese drywall in the US North-east, Mid Atlantic, Mid West, and West. As this information is determined, the Chinese Drywall Complaint Center will update its web site immediately.
Imported Chinese Drywall Time Frames
US South-east Homes built or remodeled between 2001 & 2008 may have this potentially toxic Chinese drywall in the house, or condominium. According to the Chinese Drywall Complaint Center, “if your home or condominium was built or remodeled after 2001, you have experienced numerous air condition coil failures, your copper electrical ground wires have turned black, and you are suffering from upper respiratory issues, nose bleeds, unexplained rashes, or severe allergy type symptoms, your house may contain toxic imported Chinese Drywall, or tainted drywall. If this is the case, please call the Chinese Drywall Complaint Center at 866-714-6466.
Update: Recent positive findings for Chinese Drywall, were made in a Houston area home built in 2009.
Urgent Alert: Time is of the essence in identifying as many home-owners as possible, with a specific type of toxic Chinese drywall called Knauf Tianjin-because we could be on the verge of a one time only universal settlement from the manufacturer of Knauf Tianjin Chinese drywall.
Where did it come from?
First, what is Chinese Drywall and where did it come from? The term “Chinese Drywall” (or tainted drywall or wallboard) refers to drywall imported from China from 2001 to 2007 which contains contaminants that are emitting gases which usually (but not always) create a noxious odor and corrode copper and other metal surfaces, thereby damaging your air conditioner, electrical wiring, copper plumbing, appliances and electronics.
What are the peak years for toxic Chinese drywall being used in new or remodeled homes in Alabama?
According to the Chinese Drywall Complaint Center, “as far as new homes in Alabama, we think toxic Chinese drywall was first introduced in 2003, or 2004. The peak years wee 2005-2007.” The group adds, “We are also very nervous about Texas homes damaged by Hurricanes Rita, Ike, or Gustav. If New Orleans is any guide; many of the homes in Texas repaired because of storm damage, may have involved toxic Chinese drywall.”
Possible indication that a home might have the toxic drywall could be having continuous failures of air conditioning coils, might have copper wiring in the electrical receptacles that have turned black, oven or stove elements, or refrigerator coils may have failed. The Home-owners Consumer Center has also discovered that computers, TV sets, radios, DVD players, smoke detectors, microwave information display panels may have failed in homes, where the toxic Chinese drywall is present.
Now or the Health Concerns
There have been no formal health studies on the affects of exposure to toxic Chinese drywall. However, some common denominators appear to present, as follow: nose bleeds, headaches, coughs, upper respiratory or sinus issues and rashes.
What US States are most likely to have the Toxic Chinese Drywall?
According to the Home-owners Consumer center ” We think all US States will have the Chinese drywall. The new states we worry about the most are Texas, Florida, California, Arizona, Colorado, The Northwest, Hawaii and Alaska. Florida will easily go over 100,000 new homes, and we are certain the same will be true of Texas. Remodeled homes in the US could easily be 200,000+ with the toxic Chinese drywall.”
Dangers of Chinese Drywall
- Hydrogen sulfide – colorless gas – strong odor like rotten eggs
- It causes headaches and dizziness to respiratory arrest
- Exposure for more than 30 minutes at concentrations as high as 700 ppm has been fatal
- Loss of the sense of smell
- Hydrogen sulfide is a widely spread pollutant. The by-product in many industries; oil refineries, leather, gelatin, artificial silk and sugar, waste water treatment locations
- Irritated and itchy eyes and skin, difficulty in breathing, persistent cough, bloody noses, runny noses, recurrent headaches, sinus infection, and asthma attacks
- Power outages
- Dim/flickering lights
- Electrical shocks
- Electrical fires
- Gas leaks
- Switches stop working
- A/C leaks coolant
There have been no formal health studies on the affects of exposure to toxic Chinese drywall. However, some common denominators appear to present, as follows:
nose bleeds, headaches, coughs, upper respiratory or sinus issues and rashes.
The following excerpt is from the CPSC website:
Question: What are the health symptoms and risks?
Answer: The most frequently reported symptoms are irritated and itchy eyes and skin, difficulty in breathing, persistent cough, bloody noses, runny noses, recurrent headaches, sinus infection, and asthma attacks. Since many consumers report that their symptoms lessen or go away when they are away from their home, but return upon re-entry, it appears that these symptoms are short-term and related to something within the home.
The staff of the CPSC and CDC agree that the levels of sulfur gases detected in the affected homes in the fifty-one home study were at concentrations below the known irritant levels in the available scientific literature; however, it is possible that the additive or synergistic effects of these and other compounds in the subject homes could potentially cause irritant effects to consumers.
Question: What are the electrical or fire safety concerns and what I should I watch for in my house?
Answer: Consumers have reported blackened and corroded metal in their homes. Particularly, consumers have reported failures of certain components such as: (1) premature failures of central air conditioning evaporator coils located indoors as part of the central air conditioning unit air handler; and (2) intermittent operation or failure of appliances, such as refrigerators and dishwashers, and electronic devices such as televisions and video game systems.
Please see the FAQ below if you have questions about gas service.
You should generally watch for the following potential electrical hazards in your home:
Power outages – a circuit breaker which needs resetting frequently without any apparent cause; especially if a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) or arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) trips frequently. Arc-fault circuit interrupters are a special kind of circuit breaker that is designed to detect arcing conditions in the electrical wiring.
Dim/flickering lights – lights dim often without any specific cause, such as the air conditioner or the refrigerator turning on.
Arcs/sparks – bright flashes or showers of sparks anywhere in your electrical system.
Sizzles/buzzes – unusual sounds from electrical system devices.
Overheating – parts of your electrical system, such as switch plates, dimmer switches, receptacle outlet covers, cords and plugs may be warm as a normal consequence of their operation but should not be discolored from heat or painful to touch.
Odors – pungent smells such as strong fumes from overheating plastic or electrical insulation materials.
Electrical shocks – any shock, even a mild tingle. Multiple symptoms would be a stronger indication of problems.
Question: What should I do if I suspect the corrosion has affected my gas service?
Answer: If you suspect corrosion has affected your gas service, please consult your gas supplier immediately. However, if you suspect a gas leak in or outside your home:
LEAVE the area IMMEDIATELY and tell others to leave too.
DO NOT turn any lights on or off, smoke, or operate any vehicle or equipment that could cause sparks.
DO NOT attempt to turn gas valves on or off.
Immediately call your gas supplier from a neighbor’s phone. Follow the gas supplier’s instructions.
If you cannot reach your gas supplier, call the fire department.
Installation and service must be performed by a qualified installer, service agency or the gas supplier.
Current Known Facts Regarding Chinese Drywall
Most reportings are from homes constructed between 2005-2007. (CPSC) However the consortium’s experience indicates positively identified homes from 2001 to 2009.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has, as of March 14, 2011, received 3810 reports from residents in 42 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico concerning these issues. The five most affected states are Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Virginia.
Confirmation that Chinese manufactured drywall has stopped being imported has not been made.
The estimated number of affected homes will range to 500,000.
Sheetrock is a brand name held by US Gypsum.
No US manufacturers have been found to have produced Chinese drywall.
Mexican manufactured drywall is still suspect.
New homes, in the 2001 to 2009 time frame, are not the only affected structures, remodeled and storm damage restoration homes are also affected.
Home owners insurance companies have so far been silent but are expected to try to dis-include this from their coverage.
Foreclosure banks and lenders have heard about this and are requiring ‘hold harmless” disclaimers from their purchasers.
Causes of Tainted or Chinese Drywall
While the material source of the problem is known, a complete understanding of the cause of the problem remains unknown (i.e., we do not know what materials in the Chinese drywall are triggering the release of sulfur gases).
Initially, the most common theory was that the drywall was manufactured in gypsum mines in China which used fly ash, a waste material that is a by-product from power plants using coal. Samples of Chinese drywall tested by United Engineering, however, consisted of 5-15% organic material, which contradicts the theory that Chinese drywall was made of waste from coal fired power plants. Some now believe that the tainted drywall from China comes from mined gypsum, not synthetic gypsum which is made from coal ash. Mined gypsum contains high levels of strontium, which is visible as inclusions in electron scanning microscopy.
Another theory is that Chinese drywall contains bacteria (possibly from the water source used to manufacturer the drywall) which is degrading iron and sulfur compounds to produce sulfur odors, although the CPSC’s recent report disputes this theory.
Much of the problem is due to China’s failure to cooperate. Indeed, to date, Chinese manufacturers have yet to disclose the chemicals put into their drywall or the manufacturing processes. See China Plays Tug-of-War With U.S. Inspectors Over Drywall
CPSC Drywall Website
Florida Department of Health Website on Drywall
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