Product Liability

CPSC names Chinese companies responsible for toxic drywall

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission has identified the manufacturers of the Chinese drywall that thousands of homeowners say has ruined their homes and their health. Enough toxic drywall to build 30,000 homes entered U.S. ports from China during the post-Katrina building boom of 2006 and 2007. People in as many as 18 states claim that the drywall has sickened them with a slew of respiratory problems while corroding their homes’ electrical wiring, air conditioning units, and other household systems.

The CPSC collected samples from homes affected by the toxic drywall and submitted them to the Energy Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. Of the samples tested, the Berkeley lab found that the top ten sulfur-emitting drywall samples were all produced in China. Some of the samples tested had hydrogen sulfide emission rates 100 times higher than non-Chinese drywall samples.

Hydrogen sulfide is a gaseous compound that is known to cause metal corrosion.

“Homeowners who have problem drywall in their homes are suffering greatly”, said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “I appeal to these Chinese drywall companies to carefully examine their responsibilities to U.S. families who have been harmed and do what is fair and just.”

According to the CPSC, the most toxic drywall samples came from:

• Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co. Ltd: (2 samples, year of manufacture 2005)
• Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.: (4 samples, 2006)
• Shandong Taihe Dongxin Co.: (3 samples, 2005)
• Shandong Chenxiang GBM Co. Ltd. (C&K Gypsum Board): (1 sample, 2006)

At the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue meetings in Beijing May 24-25, U.S. officials pressed the Chinese government to facilitate a meeting between CPSC and the Chinese drywall companies whose products were used in U.S. homes, and which exhibit the emissions identified during the testing procedures. The Strategic and Economic Dialogue represents the highest-level bilateral forum to discuss a broad range of issues between the two nations.

To date, CPSC has spent over $5 million investigating the toxic drywall’s chemical nature and chain of commerce.

Homeowners and contractors who suspect the toxic drywall is present in their homes should consult the identification protocol established by CPSC and the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The same agencies also issued remediation guidance to assist homeowners who are affected by the drywall problem.