The interagency task force on Chinese drywall is releasing today the initial results of several studies that begin to assemble pieces in the overall Chinese drywall puzzle. The investigation continues and
additional reports will be released in November.
In sum, the three studies released today are:
- Elemental and Chemical Testing: The study of the elemental and chemical composition of 17 drywall samples shows higher concentrations of elemental sulfur and strontium in Chinese drywall than in non-Chinese drywall.
- Chamber Studies: Preliminary results of ongoing testing to detect gases emitted from drywall
in laboratory chambers show higher emissions of total volatile sulfur gases from Chinese than
from non-Chinese drywall.
- Indoor Air Studies: Indoor air testing of 10 homes in Florida and Louisiana was conducted to
identify and measure contaminants and to inform a drywall home indoor air testing protocol.
This data from a small sample of homes, allows preliminary observations of certain chemicals in
the indoor air. The tests did not detect the presence or found only very limited or occasional
indications of sulfur compounds of particular interest – hydrogen sulfide, carbon disulfide, and
carbonyl sulfide. Concentrations of two known irritant compounds, acetaldehyde and
formaldehyde, were detected in both homes with and without Chinese drywall, and at
concentrations that could exacerbate conditions such as asthma in sensitive populations. The
levels of formaldehyde were not unusual for new homes, however, and were higher when the
homes were not air conditioned.
The findings of each report released today must be considered within the limitations of each study and viewed in the context of the overall drywall investigation, which is ongoing. While the studies have discovered certain differences between Chinese and non-Chinese drywall, further studies must be completed to determine the nexus between the drywall and the reported health and corrosion issues. The conclusions of each study are preliminary and may be subject to change with the results of later studies.
Next month the results of a 50-home indoor air testing study will be released as well as a preliminary engineering analysis of electrical and fire safety associated with corrosion. The federal agencies involvedin this effort are also working to finalize a recommended protocol for in-home testing which will be guided by the methods used to test the various homes to date. A study of long-term corrosion issues, that seeks to simulate decades of exposure and corrosion, will not be completed until June of 2010.
More information can be found at the CPSC HERE