Hazardous Chinese Drywall in Florida


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Many homes throughout Florida and the United States built between 2004 and 2007 may contain defective drywall imported from China.  The Chinese drywall may have high concentrations of hazardous chemical including sulfur, which could cause health problems to FL residents.

During the home construction and renovation booms, a limited supply of drywall manufactured in the United States led home builders in Florida to use drywall imported from Chinese manufacturers.  The Chinese drywall was less expensive than drywall from US vendors.  The drywall imported from China was made with fly ash residue, a waste material from chimneys of coal-fired power plants.  The defective sheets have sulfur compounds, which emit hydrogen sulphide in the air, causing FL homeowners to experience drywall damages.

Florida homeowners with damages may need to remove or replace every piece of drywall throughout the homes.  The wooden frame may be permeated with airborne sulfuric acid and smell, corroding electrical wiring, tarnishing jewelry, and destroying air conditioning.  Health concerns linked to drywall include bloody noses, headaches, insomnia, breathing problems.  People end up moving out of the homes.  Though some people spend their life savings to remodel property into a dream home, the home is uninhabitable.  Lenders become reluctant to extend credit on toxic assets making the homes hard to sell.  Home sales may need drywall certification as part of the due diligence and broker disclosures.  Drywall 5/8 inch thick needs Underwriters Laboratory certification.

Some insurance policies have exclusions for pollution or defective materials so there may not be coverage for damages when a drywall house requires renovation.  Federal legislation to recall or ban defective building products from China unlikely compensates victims of these drywall injuries.

Collectability from lawsuits against foreign drywall manufacturers may be hard. Filing suit against a US contractor or vendor may mean bankruptcy.  The foreign manufacturer without a US facility or assets may not appear for the lawsuit because it is hard to get at assets in China.

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