Another Chinese product safety issue has arisen, that of toxic drywall.
At the height of the U.S. housing boom, when building materials were in short supply, American construction companies used millions of pounds of Chinese-made drywall because it was abundant and cheap.
Now that decision is haunting hundreds of homeowners and apartment dwellers who are concerned that the wallboard gives off fumes that can corrode copper pipes, blacken jewelry and silverware, and possibly sicken people… Researchers do not know yet what causes the reaction, but possible culprits include fumigants sprayed on the drywall and material inside it. The Chinese drywall is also made with a coal byproduct called fly ash that is less refined than the form used by U.S. drywall makers.
Dozens of homeowners in the Southeast have sued builders, suppliers and manufacturers, claiming the very walls around them are emitting smelly sulfur compounds that are poisoning their families and rendering their homes uninhabitable… Builders have filed their own lawsuits against suppliers and manufacturers, claiming they unknowingly used the bad building materials.
It is estimated that 100,000 houses in the US could have been affected. It has also been claimed that the drywall emits sulfur gasses that are causing respiratory ailments.
There are plans to ban China-made drywall. A class-auction law suit is pending.
See also past CDT posts on noxious drywall.