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Congress Demands Answers to Chinese Drywall Fiasco

October 1st, 2009
Number (and Percentage) of Drywall Reports by State

Number (and Percentage) of Drywall Reports by State
Graphic Provided by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission

The Miami Herald reports that Florida and Louisiana legislators bombarded Inez Tenebaum, the new Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairwoman, with questions about Chinese drywall at a meeting of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection earlier this month. During the proceedings, Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise said, “It’s clear drywall has wreaked havoc in homes.”

The housing boom across the country combined with the massive reconstruction efforts in Gulf Coast states including Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and other large storms created a high demand for drywall over the last several years. This demand peaked in 2005 when the rebuilding efforts caused a massive drywall shortage, a gap filled by Chinese drywall manufacturers who flooded the market with their products. Approximately 30,000 homes and commercial properties were either repaired or constructed with the Chinese drywall between 2005 and 2006.

“It’s making many families in Florida sick,” declared Florida Representative Kathy Castor. “Families should not have to worry that building materials in their homes emit toxic fumes.”

Chinese-manufactured drywall is reported to contain high levels of hydrogen sulfides, compounds that when exposed to prolonged heat or humidity, release sulfur gasses resulting in: terrible “rotten egg” odors; corrosion of air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems; corrosion of metal surfaces and appliances; and physical injuries including but not limited to respiratory problems, nosebleeds, and headaches.

Tenebaum assured the Subcommittee that she understands “the personal hardship that this issue has caused homeowners” and that the CPSC investigation is “a key priority.” She pledged that the agency would issue its report on Chinese-manufactured drywall’s affect on indoor air quality and health by late October.

Seeger Weiss founding partner Christopher Seeger has been appointed to the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee for the Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2047) in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.

For more information, check out our case page for Chinese drywall litigation.

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