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March 18, 2009

Chinese Made Dry Walls Making Houses Sick

My sister just called to tell me that she heard about this story on CNN.  This is another instance of how lack of regulation by the Bush administration has caused harm to the American public at large.  If these Chinese made dry-walls can decay and eat away air conditioning systems, what can they do to our lungs?  This is an outrage.  If your home is emitting any of these odors or you see any of these conditions in your home call one of these attorneys.  Read the story below:

Officials are looking into claims that Chinese-made drywall installed in some Florida homes is emitting smelly, corrosive gases and ruining household systems such as air conditioners, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says.

The Florida Health Department, which is investigating whether the drywall poses any health risks, said it has received more than 140 homeowner complaints. And class-action lawsuits allege defective drywall has caused problems in at least three states — Florida, Louisiana and Alabama — while some attorneys involved claim such drywall may have been used in tens of thousands of U.S. homes.

Homeowners’ lawsuits contend the drywall has caused them to suffer health problems such as headaches and sore throats and face huge repair expenses.

The drywall is alleged to have high levels of sulfur and, according to homeowners’ complaints, the sulfur-based gases smell like rotten eggs and corrode piping and wiring, causing electronics and appliances to fail.

“It’s economically devastating, and it’s emotionally devastating,” said Florida attorney Ervin A. Gonzalez, who filed one of the lawsuits. It would cost a third of an affected home’s value to fix the dwelling, Gonzalez said.

“The interior has to be gutted, the homeowners have to continue paying mortgages, and they have to pay for a [temporary] place to live,” Gonzalez said.

The CPSC has been investigating claims in Florida for more than a month, according to commission spokesman Joe Martyak. He would not confirm whether CPSC is checking other states or reveal how many cases it is probing.

The Florida complaints generally involve homes built or renovated in 2005 and 2006, when a building boom and post-hurricane reconstruction caused a U.S. drywall shortage that spurred builders to turn to imports, Martyak said.

The allegations come after a number of recent safety problems with other Chinese exports, ranging from toys to pet food.

Dick and Nancy Nelson, who say the Florida retirement home they bought new in 2006 has Chinese-manufactured drywall, contend all their appliances with copper are failing, according to CNN affiliate WFTS-TV.

“The washing machine, the dryer, the microwave, and a refrigerator — these are all brand new appliances, and they’re breaking down,” Nancy Nelson of Palmetto told the Tampa station. The Nelsons are among those who have complained to the state health department.

In a neighborhood in Homestead, Florida, owners of homes with Chinese-manufactured drywall say the dwellings smell like rotten eggs especially on humid days, according to CNN affiliate WPLG-TV.

Electronics and appliances with copper components stopped working in short order, and copper pipes and wiring turned black, homeowners told the Miami station.

“My dream has turned into a nightmare,” one of the homeowners, Felix Martinez, told WPLG-TV. He said he closed on the home in August 2006.

Michael Foreman, head of construction consulting firm Foreman & Associates in Sarasota, Florida, said he’s been investigating drywall complaints in that state since last year and is sharing information with at least one group of lawyers preparing lawsuits on the matter. Based on shipping records, Foreman estimates the United States in 2006 and the first two months of 2007 imported enough drywall from Chinese manufacturers named in lawsuits to produce at least 50,000 homes at a size of 2,000 square feet each.

Florida ports alone took in enough of that drywall during those 14 months to build 30,000 homes of that size, he estimated, citing records he obtained from the Port Import Export Reporting Service, a company that collects information on cargoes entering and leaving U.S. ports. Foreman said he has yet to see import records from 2004 and 2005, years covering what he said was a building boom with a high demand for drywall.

Two Florida attorneys involved in separate class-action lawsuits, Gonzalez and Jordan Chaikin, said they, too, believe shipping records indicate tens of thousands of residences in the United States, with a good chunk of them in Florida, may have drywall from the manufacturers.

“The breadth of this thing is a lot bigger than people think,” said Chaikin of the Parker Waichman Alonso law firm in Bonita Springs. Chaikin said the problem is perhaps more easily recognizable in Florida because humidity exacerbates it.

An Alabama-based homebuilder alleges that Chinese-manufactured drywall in 40 houses it built in 2005 and 2006 — 32 in Alabama and eight in Florida — caused corrosion or odor problems. The builder, Mitchell Co., has filed a class-action lawsuit in Florida against certain manufacturers, attorney Steve Nicholas said.

“We filed on behalf of builders because we believe … they’re going to be the ones with the initial loss” to fix the problems, said Nicholas, of Alabama law firm Cunningham Bounds.

The Miami suit seeks compensation and medical monitoring of the homeowners.

To read this story in full go to:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/03/18/chinese.drywall/index.html

 

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12 Comments »

  1. What is wrong with us (we in the United States)? Ever here the old saying, “Ya get what you pay for?” Cheap labor, defective products that have caused numerous health problems in products from paint on toys, food, and now this dry wall. Are we stupid? Wake up America!!! We can produce our own dry wall, our own toys for OUR KIDS, and we sure as hell can process our own food. We need to boycott China. How much more are we going to take?

    Comment by Jill S Mertinke — March 18, 2009 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

    • Jill — I hear ya loud and clear. I think things are about to change. 🙂

      Comment by Paulette — March 19, 2009 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

  2. Great article, thanks for the information.

    Comment by Homes — March 18, 2009 @ 9:30 pm | Reply

  3. Good for everyone this happened to, how do you like that cheap Chinese product now, no one was thinking about the consequences of putting Americans out of work by buying Chinese so now they suffer in a different way, seems like good payback to me.

    Comment by Sailingwindward — March 18, 2009 @ 9:36 pm | Reply

    • Ouch! It’s not the fault of individual Americans that inferior Chinese made dry-wall was used in the building of their homes. Even if something is substandard, Americans can only purchase what in approved by and imported by our government. We purchase what are in our stores – that’s what we have to select from.

      It is the fault of the Bush and his cronies who were in charge and were negligent and incompetent.

      Comment by Paulette — March 19, 2009 @ 1:47 pm | Reply

  4. I try to buy as many made is USA products as possible, if more people make a conscious effort to do the same we can a difference, sometimes it’s difficult but worth it in the long run. It’s not just imported products that are hurting us, it’s also the off-shoring jobs and H-1 visa workers that are brought over here to replace American workers at a fraction of the pay, those companies should be boycotted, how is it that a country like France is so organized when it comes to their workers, the French government now has to negotiate with the labor unions about fixing their recession, here in the US unions are considered poison except when it’s a union for big corporations like the US chamber of Commerce and the world bank.

    Comment by Sailingwindward — March 19, 2009 @ 2:51 pm | Reply

    • Sailing – everything it starts at the top. The government has to WANT to help the American workers. If the government WANTS to help then they create laws and regulations that ensure that American workers are protected. Just like the Davis Bacon Act was established to protect construction workers but was not enforced by the Bush administration.

      It starts at the top. I am hopeful that we will see changes that are positive and progressive for American workers.

      Comment by Paulette — March 19, 2009 @ 3:06 pm | Reply

  5. Changes, when?
    It seems when it came to Wall street there was a sense of urgency to get them money so they (Wall Street) could pay bonuses and go on million dollar vacation resorts, but with main street there is none, and all they say is to wait and be patient and eat rats.

    Comment by Sailingwindward — March 19, 2009 @ 3:29 pm | Reply

    • Sailing, the intention of the Obama administration wasn’t to give money to Wall Street so they could pay bonuses and go on million dollar conferences. The intention was to give Wall Street money so that they would stop our economic life-line from dying and so that our entire economy would not sink to depths beyond repair.

      The Wall Streeters were egocentric, self-indulgent, irresponsible and reckless in using the money loaned to them by us, the American taxpayers.

      Our country is learning many lessons right now but I think we will learn and move forward.

      President Obama has been in office for less than 100 days — give him a chance to show us what he can and is willing to do. I think he has shown us that he is courageous and willing to work for the good of all Americans.

      Cheers!

      Comment by Paulette — March 19, 2009 @ 7:33 pm | Reply

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    Comment by BaltBluex — April 4, 2009 @ 4:13 am | Reply

    • Thanks BaltBluex — please stop by again soon!

      Comment by Paulette — April 8, 2009 @ 10:51 am | Reply

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    Comment by Injubre — April 16, 2009 @ 10:45 am | Reply


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