Dangerous Drywall From China

After hurricane Katrina there were shortages of various construction materials.  There was too much that needed to be done at one time.  One thing in short supply was drywall.  This immediate need inspired the importation of tens of millions of square feet of drywall.  No problem - so builders imported drywall.

It sat on barges at sea until it was approved.  Some say it absorbed moisture.  Some say it did not.  But it was approved and admitted and used in thousands of houses in Florida, Virginia and perhaps elsewhere - 2004, 2005 and 2006.  It turns out the drywall was bad stuff!  Really, really bad stuff!

One main component of drywall is gypsum.  Gypsum is the mineral used in many things in addition to drywall, like plaster of Paris and chalk.  It naturally contains other elements, like iron and sulfur.  This drywall apparently contains abnormal amounts of iron and sulfur.  As drywall gets wet and then dries, it emits gases, like iron and sulfur. 

These gases stink like rotten eggs. 

They quickly corrode copper, like AC coils, plumbing and electrical connections, appliance and computer parts. 

And they cause health problems - eye, nose and throat irritation, respiratory difficulty, bleeding noses and, with enough exposure, even death. 

This drywall is affecting all the houses it was installed in in these very negative ways.  How can you live in such a house?  How could you ever sell such a house?

Can you imagine that disclosure statement?  Oh, and in addition to smelling so bad, the AC goes out every other year, the plumbing leaks continually (yes, that is mold over there) and the house might burn down tomorrow...

It is now the subject of a huge lawsuit.  Environmental Expert.com says the problems appear to be related to the presence of iron disulfide (FeS2 pyrite) in the material. Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbonyl sulfide, sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon disulfide (CS2) are also suspected as culprits, the Web site said. The possibility that the drywall is emitting hydrogen sulfide fumes is disturbing. And the amounts emitted!  Exposure to 50 parts per million of hydrogen sulfide for more than ten minutes can cause extreme irritation. Inhalation of 500 to 1,000 parts per million can cause unconsciousness and death through respiratory paralysis and asphyxiation, according to environmental experts.  Are the amounts of these gases emitted by this drywall coincidence, accident or on purpose?

It is the subject of news reports -->  http://www.foxnews.com/video-search/m/21792361/toxic_homes.htm

Oh, did I mention where this drywall comes from?

CHINA

And the beat goes on ...  That news report came out the day after my recent post on Chinese recalls.  Prescient?

How do you recall thousands of houses?

I think we need to recall China...

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Jay performs inspections Monday through Saturday, throughout Northern Virginia, from his office in Bristow to Leesburg and Centreville, to Great Falls and Vienna and everywhere in between!