Chinese Drywall Complaints Top 1,500Oct 1, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
The Chinese drywall epidemic has hit a milestone. Complaints to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) about the defective wallboard have now surpassed 1,500.
According to the CPSC, it has received about 1,501 reports from residents in 27 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico who believe their health symptoms or the corrosion of metal components in their homes are related to the presence of Chinese drywall. The majority of reports -1,103 - have come from Florida. Other states affected include Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
According to the CPSC's Chinese drywall website, consumers making complaints largely report that their homes were built in 2006 to 2007. Common features of the reports submitted to the CPSC from homes believed to contain defective Chinese drywall have been:
- Consumers have reported a "rotten egg" smell within their homes.
- Consumers have reported health concerns such as irritated and itchy eyes and skin, difficulty in breathing, persistent cough, bloody noses, runny noses, recurrent headaches, sinus infection, and asthma attacks.
- Consumers have reported blackened and corroded metal components in their homes and the frequent replacement of components in air conditioning units.
Chinese drywall poured into the U.S. between 1999 and 2007 because of the high demand created by the housing boom. Imports accelerated when the rebuilding that followed Hurricane Charley in Florida in 2004, and Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast in 2005, created a drywall shortage. According to The Wall Street Journal, some 500 million pounds of Chinese drywall was imported to the U.S. during the housing boom. That means as many as 100,000 homes throughout the country could have been built with the material.
Thousands of homeowners have filed lawsuits over the defective wallboard. Chinese drywall lawsuits from around the country have been consolidated in a Multidistrict Litigation that is currently underway in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. The first bellwether trials in that litigation are expected to begin in January.