Chinese Drywall: Understanding and Uncovering the Issue

Historically, the relocation industry has been challenged by such environmental issues as UFFI (urea formaldehyde foam insulation), asbestos, radon gas, synthetic stucco, and black mold. Currently, the industry is challenged economically by an oversupply of homes, decreasing home prices, a credit crisis, an unstable stock market, record foreclosures, and a global recession. What is next? I believe the next challenge will be Chinese drywall.

Some three hundred million board feet of Chinese drywall have been imported into the United States in the past eight years and its use could be a nationwide problem having a profound effect on transferees, relocation companies, and corporations.

With regard to the effects of using Chinese drywall “we have only scratched the surface,” said Robert Kallotte, environmental specialist in the office of Environmental Health Services, Sarasota, FL, County Health Department. His department has inspected hundreds of homes in the state that contain the Chinese drywall. Most are found in homes constructed after Hurricane Katrina from 2004 to 2007. However, “I found it in one constructed in 2001,” reported Kallotte.

What is Chinese Drywall?
Thomas Martin, president of America’s Watchdog, a private national consumer advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., believes the suspect imported Chinese drywall is made from material taken from vats under a conveyor belt filled with coal. Gypsum is dripped into the coal to clean it. Martin’s sources say the liquefied vats are being shipped to drywall manufacturers, allegedly, and turned into drywall without a cleaning. He claims that the drywall has been found in 41 states from Alaska to Hawaii and up to 300,000 homes may be affected.

Warning Signals
There are several problems caused by the Chinese drywall. How can a problem be detected? Look for these signs:

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