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Chinese Drywall Disaster Declaration Sought

Jan 12, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

Broward County, Florida officials want a disaster declared because of Chinese drywall.

“There are so many homeowners who are underwater on their property and not getting any relief through no fault of their own,” Commissioner Stacy Ritter, told the Sun-Sentinel. “Hopefully, this will give them some ability to get back in their homes and live there safely.

A disaster declaration would make federal and state financial assistance to homeowners in Broward County whose homes have been ruined by Chinese drywall.

Broward County’s request to Gov. Charlie Crist for a disaster declaration comes a week after a similar one was lodged by the city of Parkland.

Last year, U.S. Sen. Robert Wexler (D-Florida) had also asked Gov. Crist to declare a state of emergency over the drywall disaster. But at the time, the Governor said he would push federal agencies to conduct air sample tests to help the state determine whether a health advisory is warranted.

Of the more than 2,700 complaints regarding Chinese drywall made to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), most – 1,630– have come from Florida. Gases emitted from Chinese drywall are being blamed for significant property damage, including damage to HVAC systems, smoke detectors, electrical wiring, metal plumbing components, and other household appliances. These gases also produce a sulfurous odor that permeates homes, and cause metals, including air conditioning coils and even jewelry, to corrode. People living with Chinese drywall have also suffered eye, respiratory and sinus problems that may be linked to the gases.

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