Chinese drywall may have been used in 100,000 homes built in the United States during the period of four years. It has been reported that Chinese drywall causes a variety of respiratory illnesses as well as causes corrosion in pipes and electrical wiring in homes.
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While this potential Chinese drywall threat has been reported and is under investigation by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the news has not received the publicity necessary for consumers to be wary of this potential hazard. Anecdotal evidence reported by consumers appears very strong in support of their claims of health as well as safety concerns.
Buyers of houses built during this period should be aware of the dangers of purchasing a home that may contain drywall produced in China. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has received over 800 complaints. Reportedly the Chinese drywall emits strong odors and chemical emissions which threaten the health and safety of occupants in homes that contain this tainted Chinese drywall.
Chinese drywall was apparently used extensively by home builders in the Southeast because there was a shortage of drywall in the United States during the housing boom years between 2004-2006. Additionally, Hurricane Katrina resulted in a high demand for drywall to repair damaged homes. Exactly how extensively the Chinese drywall has been used throughout the United States is still being investigated. Chinese drywall was available to support the housing boom and was cheaper than drywall produced in the United States. The problem with the Chinese drywall came to light in the Southeast because the alleged emissions from the drywall appear when the drywall is exposed to high humidity. Homes that are located in areas with cooler temperatures and lower humidity may not be identified as quickly. In April 2009 the Associated Press ran an article titled "Chinese Drywall Poses Potential Risk to American Homeowners, Apartment Dwellers." The article is extremely informative.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating the effects of the reportedly tainted and toxic Chinese Drywall. However, the investigation appears to be proceeding at an agonizingly slow pace. The amount of Chinese drywall imported into the United States is known, but exactly where it was used is the unknown. While anecdotal evidence is strong, the CPSC is conducting a scientific investigation. To date it does not appear as if a recall of the Chinese drywall has been declared.
The Virginia Gazette, a biweekly newspaper targeted at residents in James City and York counties in Virginia reported on August 1 about the travails that a family is facing because of the use of Chinese drywall in their new home.
The potential problems posed by Chinese drywall is in its infancy. Expect to hear much more about this subject in the coming months. In the meantime "caveat emptor" would seem to be what applies to those that are not knowledgeable about the potential damage that could be incurred by those affected by Chinese drywall. Let your friends and neighbors know about the problem. The potential problems with Chinese drywall would seem to be a subject that should be spread throughout the twitter world by those that have large followings.