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American-Made Drywall Blamed For Corrosion, Subject of Florida Lawsuit

Jan 13, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

Some Florida homeowners say drywall made by National Gypsum - a U.S. manufacturer - has caused corrosion problems in their houses identical to those blamed on Chinese drywall.  They recently filed a class action lawsuit against National Gypsum.

The class action complaint against National Gypsum accuses the company of  producing "defective American-manufactured drywall in the United States, including Florida" that release sulfur gases tied to corrosion and "irritant effects."   The lawsuit seeks the cost of drywall removal, repair of the damaged components in the home, as well as economic losses, medical monitoring and other steps.

George and Brenda Brinku of Alva, are among the lead plaintiffs in the National Gypsum lawsuit.  According to the Sarasota Herald Tribune, the Brinku's home contains only domestic drywall, and 90 percent of it was made by National Gypsum.  The family has experienced extensive corrosion to their home.  Earlier this year, National Gypsum  tested the Brinku's home, and says its drywall is not causing the corrosion problems.  However, the company has not made the results of those tests public.

The Herald Tribune is also reporting that, several weeks ago, University of Florida professor Dr. Timothy Townsend revealed that his tests on National Gypsum drywall made in three states, including Florida, found that sulfur gases were being emitted from the company's drywall.  National Gypsum insists that the gases found by those tests would not be enough to cause the corrosion seen in homes.

Currently, more than 3,000 lawsuits over Chinese drywall are pending in a multidistrict litigation underway in federal court in Louisiana.  Last summer, tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency found that Chinese-manufactured drywall contained elevated levels of strontium sulfide, as well as the presence of several organic compounds associated with the production of acrylic paint that were not present in samples of U.S.-made drywall. Other tests released in November by the Consumer Products Safety Commission of 51 homes confirmed that the presence of hydrogen sulfide is the essential component that causes copper and silver sulfide corrosion found in Chinese drywall homes. Federal investigators are still trying to determine what health risks exposure to drywall gases might pose.

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