Chinese Drywall

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CPSC & HUD Issue Guidance on Repairing Homes With Chinese Drywall

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today issued interim remediation guidance to help homeowners struggling to rid their properties of problem drywall linked to corrosion of metal in their homes such as electrical components.

Earlier this year, HUD and CPSC issued a protocol to help identify problem drywall in the home. Today’s interim remediation guidance is being released in recognition that many homeowners want to begin remediating their homes and offers a next step to homeowners whose homes have been determined to have problem drywall.

Based on scientific study of the problem to date, HUD and CPSC recommend consumers remove all possible problem drywall from their homes, and replace electrical components and wiring, gas service piping, fire suppression sprinkler systems, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. Taking these steps should help eliminate both the source of the problem drywall and corrosion-damaged components that might cause a safety problem in the home. To view a full text of the remediation guidance, visit the federal Drywall Information Center website.

This interim remediation protocol is being released before all ongoing scientific studies on problem drywall are completed so that homeowners can begin remediating their homes. CPSC will continue to release its scientific studies as they are completed.

Completed studies show a connection between certain Chinese drywall and corrosion in homes. CPSC is continuing to look at long term health and safety implications.

Source: CPSC, CDC, EPA, HUD Drywall Information Center

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Interim Guidance on Homes with Problem (read: Chinese) Drywall

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have issued an interim guidance document on the best approach to identifying problem (a.k.a. Chinese) drywall.  The document states that the guidance is based primarily on the presence of metal corrosion in homes.

Prerequisite (must meet both criteria) to warrant further consideration:

Visual inspection must show:

  1. Blackening of copper electrical wiring and/or air conditioning evaporator coils, and
  2. Drywall must have been installed between 2001 and 2008

Additional corroborating evidence (must have at least 2 of the following conditions for drywall installed between 2005-2008 and at least 4 conditions for drywall installed between 2001-2004):

  1. Corrosive conditions in home, as evident by the formation of copper sulfide on copper metal test strips placed in the home for 14-30 days, or the confirmation of sulfur in the blackening of grounding wires or condensation coils.
  2. Confirmed markings of Chinese origin for drywall in the home.
  3. Strontium levels in drywall samples greater than 1200 ppm.
  4. Elemental sulfur levels in drywall samples exceeding 100 ppm.
  5. Elevated levels of hydrogen sulfide, carbonyl sulfide and/or carbon disulfide emitted from drywall samples tested using ASTM Standard Method D5504-08.
  6. Corrosion of copper metal to form copper sulfide when copper is placed in test chambers with drywall samples collected from the home.

A copy of the document can be found HERE

CPSC, EPA, HUD, CDC, and ATSDR Release Initial Chinese Drywall Studies

made-in-china

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.

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“Made in China” Drywall Off-Gasing?

made-in-chinaHere are some of the information that has been put together based upon the claims of off-gasing from chinese made drywall.

  • Homeowners have begun to complain about Chinese made drywall that gives off a egg-like stench
  • Between 2004-2008, approximately 540,000,000 (540 million) pounds of plasterboard (which includes drywall and ceiling tiles) was imported into the US from China
  • A majority of the imported drywall entered the US following the 2005 hurricane season that caused a domestic drywall shortage
  • Chinese drywall was less expensive
  • The drywall was made with fly ash which may not have been refined (i.e. cleaned) as well as some domestically made drywall.
  • The Florida Department of Health found the drywall to emit “volatile sulfur compounds” and contained strontium sulfide, which can release hydrogen sulfide in moist air (i.e. rotten egg smell)
  • A University of New Orleans toxicologist has identified hydrogen sulfide, sulfuric acid, sulfur dioxide and carbon disulfide in the drywall
  • Agencies of the Chinese government did not respond to repeated Associated Press’ requests for comment

A copy of the AP article can be found HERE

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