EPA Finds Questionable Material During Test of Chinese Drywall | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, suspect materials were found in a small sampling of Chinese-made drywall.  This discovery adds to the fears that this major house-building material might be causing corrosion in homes and possibly sickness to people in several states.  The EPA tested Chinese drywall in two Florida homes and discovered sulfur and two organic compounds often associated with acrylic paint.  Those chemicals were not found in four American-made drywall samples.  The EPA also found strontium at higher levels in the Chinese product than in the US product.  Strontium compounds are used in making ceramics, pyrotechnics, paint pigments, fluorescent lights and some medicines.

The associated press reviewed shipping records which indicated that imports of potentially harmful Chinese building materials exceed 500 million pounds during a four-year period which peeked in 2006.  The drywall might have been used in more than 100,000 homes according to estimates.  Many of these homes were rebuilt after 2005’s, Hurricane Katrina.

The drywall boards can cause a chemical reaction that corrodes metal and gives off a rotten egg smell.  The smell grows worse with heat and humidity.  Researchers are unsure as to what causes it but possible culprits include fumigants sprayed on the drywall and the material inside it.  The EPA noted in its report that the two-home sample might not be representative of all drywall products however the report was not done to see if there was a link between the Chinese drywall and the conditions being observed in houses.

The EPA did not make any official comment on this report.  Delegates from Louisiana and Florida are asking congress to include $2 million on a war spending bill that would enable the Consumer Protection Safety Commission and other federal agencies to thoroughly research the extent of problems with Chinese drywall.