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Chinese Drywall Tester Tells People to Get Out

Jun 8, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

The head of a company testing homes for Chinese drywall  said she usually advises families to leave if the material is found.  According to Palm Beach Post, Patricia Williams, president of Environmental Toxicology Experts, made such remarks last week at the Chinese Drywall Litigation Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Homeowners in at least 18 states have complained that fumes from Chinese-made drywall produce a “rotten eggs” odor and cause metals, such as air conditioning coils, to corrode. The fumes have also been associated with respiratory and sinus problems in some residents. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the U.S. imported roughly 309 million square feet of drywall from China during the housing boom from 2004 to 2007.

Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released results of tests it conducted that compared Chinese drywall to American-made material. The tests found sulfur and two organic compounds associated with acrylic paint in the Chinese drywall that were not present in the American wallboard. Strontium - used in making ceramics, pyrotechnics, paint pigments, fluorescent lights and medicine - was also found at higher levels in Chinese drywall as compared to the U.S. product. The EPA said at the time that more testing is needed to determine if the compounds found in the Chinese drywall were responsible for the problems reported by homeowners.

According to, the Florida Health Department is almost finished with another round of drywall testing.  Those tests are being conducted to determine what contaminants in Chinese drywall might be responsible for emitting volatile sulfur gases, including hydrogen sulfide, found as a result of other testing the department did earlier in the year.  A report on the newest test results will likely be available in the coming weeks, said.

According to the Palm Beach Post, Patricia Williams was the primary speaker on health issues at last week's two-day Chinese Drywall Litigation conference.  The conference was attended by more than 200 attorneys, as well as struggling homeowners, builders, insurance companies and drywall manufacturers themselves.

Williams is in the process of conducting tests on 14 homes, and told the conference that the Chinese drywall seems to crumble more easily.  This may be creating airborne particles that could cause or worsen respiratory symptoms, the Palm Beach Post said.

"This is serious stuff," Williams told the conference, the Palm Beach Post reported. "I tell people, 'Get out of the house.' And now I tell them, 'Don't even take your furniture.'"

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