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Drywall From China Causes Concern Over Sulfur Odor In Homes

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MARY WOZNIAK (mwozniak@news-press.com) and DICK HOGAN (dhogan@news-press.com) reported on December 20, 2008 that drywall from China in 2004 – 2005 has has been creating noxious sulfur odors and potential health problem. A Florida family had to move out of their new home at the home builder’s expense while the problem – and a solution – is investigated.

The Environmental Protection Agency confirms there is a problem with drywall, but says the breadth and severity of that problem are unknown.

“It is the drywall, and from what I gather it is causing a problem with copper and, specifically, air conditioning units,” said Dawn Harris-Young, spokeswoman from the EPA’s Region 4 in Atlanta.

After new home buyers in Fort Myers Florida complained about the sulfur odors, the builder had the Chinese drywall tested and determined that it was the problem. The builder replaced the drywall in one house and used ozone, fogging and barrier paint in the other.

Florida health department officials have received over 50 complaints from around the state about these problems and is investigating the problem:

“It certainly does raise concerns,” said Dr. David Krause, toxicologist for the state Health Department. “There may be a direct health threat.”

At highest risk for health problems are children and the elderly. People with asthma and chemical sensitivity are at even higher risk. The Chinese drywall that came into this market three to four years ago often was of poor quality being very brittle.

Doug Hoffman, executive director of the National Organization of Remediators and Mold Inspectors, said he has been getting a lot of reports about the Chinese drywall recently from his members — mainly in the Southeast.

“What they’re finding is that the drywall being shipped over from China is emitting much higher levels of sulfur, methane and other volatile organic compounds” than is considered healthy.

This drywall problem highlights the problem of foreign made products. We cannot control what foreign product manufacturers do and with US health and safety regulation having been substantially dismantled by the Clinton and Bush Administrations the public is being subjected to an epidemic of health threats from foreign products. I have written before on this problem in regard to Melamine in baby formula and defective foreign products. Another interesting article on this subject is "Food and Toy Safety: China’s refusal to allow free speech increases our risk of exposure to melamine and lead" by prominent consumer advocate Steve Lombardi from Des Moines, Iowa. Higher profits at the expense of public health is at the core of these issues. The American civil justice system protects the public when corporations and government fail in their duty to do so. In China there is no effective system of courts, citizen juries and the Rule of Law to stop these practices. Unfortunately politicians in Hawaii and across the country are at work stripping American’s of the protections of the courts, so Hawaii defective products lawyers cannot protect your family. Don’t let it happen in in Hawaii or any community.