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Government Report on Chinese Drywall Inconclusive

On October 29 a preliminary report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that Chinese drywall emits higher levels of sulfur gases and strontium...
November 2, 2009

On October 29 a preliminary report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that Chinese drywall emits higher levels of sulfur gases and strontium than similar building material manufactured in the U.S. but found no evidence that linked the emissions to health problems and metal corrosion as claimed by at least 1,900 homeowners in the U.S.  The inconclusive CPSC report increases the uncertainty of whether China, home builders, distributors, insurers or the federal government will pay for the damage reported by homeowners. 

Federal authorities are continuing to investigate claims that the drywall causes health problems and metal corrosion. A CPSC spokesman said that on a recent visit to China Inez Tenenbaum, the agency chairman, discussed her expectations that Chinese companies would accept responsibility and respond fairly if their products were found to have caused damage.  However, the agency did not say whether the cost aspect was also discussed.  The same day Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, asked President Obama to discuss the problem of contaminated drywall when he meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao in November.

What It Means to Agents:  This is not a nationwide issue. Nearly 70 percent of the complaints have come from Florida, and Louisiana represents most of the rest. Most of the affected homes were built in 2006 and 2007 during a surge in new construction that occurred in part due to homeowners rebuilding after hurricanes in 2004 and 2005. Some builders used Chinese drywall because of a domestic shortage.

U.S. Stops Short of Faulting Chinese Drywall (The Wall Street Journal 10/30/09)

CPSC Report (PDF file, 10/29/09)