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Chinese Drywall Imported to Guam, Saipan, American Samoa

Aug 17, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

Potentially defective Chinese drywall was imported to Guam, Saipan and American Samoa.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 20,000 sheets of Chinese-made drywall made their way on to those islands in 2006.

For months now, we have reported on homeowner complaints regarding Chinese drywall. Gases emitted from the 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, similar to fireworks or rotten eggs, that permeates homes, and cause metals, including air conditioning coils and even jewelry, to corrode.  

According to the CPSC, consumers in 24 states have filed a total of 877 Chinese drywall complaints. Most complaints have come from Florida (658) and Louisiana (105). Other states with Chinese drywall reports include: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

In addition to the 6,211,200 sheets of Chinese drywall that were imported into the U.S., the CPSC has confirmed that an additional 28,778 sheet entered  Guam, Saipan, and American Samoa during 2006.

According to the Saipan Tribune, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) has begun its own Chinese drywall investigation.  “For the time being, consumers who have recently remodeled using drywall imported from China should be aware of and report noxious odors coming from drywall, the corrosion of metal objects in the home, and short-term health effects generally affecting the upper respiratory tract," CNMI consumer counsel Mike Ernest told the Saipan Tribune.

The Chinese drywall epidemic has spawned scores of product liability lawsuits across the U.S.  Six hundred of those cases have been consolidated in the Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2047) currently underway in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana.  U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon is presiding over the litigation, and it is expected that the first Chinese drywall trials will begin before the end of the year.  

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