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Chinese Drywall Tests Revealed Bacteria, Fungus, Expert Says

Oct 27, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP

A building inspections expert claims Chinese drywall is infested with bacteria, fungus and even fecal matter.  According to a report on the Broward-Palm Beach New Times Web site, Spiderman S. Mulholland, owner of U.S. Building Consultants Inc. in Gainesville, Florida, says such contaminants are likely causing health problems  for people living in homes built with the defective Chinese drywall.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has received over 1,700 complaints regarding Chinese drywall from homeowners across the country. 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.

Earlier this year, tests conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found sulfur and two organic compounds associated with acrylic paint — compounds not found in samples of American-made drywall - in samples of  Chinese drywall. Next week, the CPSC will release two reports detailing the initial results of its tests on Chinese- and American-made drywall, with another report to follow next month.

According to the New Times report, Spiderman Mulholland presented findings on his own tests of Chinese drywall at an Orlando conference for homeowners that was held over the weekend.  At the conference, Mulholland said his team has spent 20,000 hours and about $500,000 testing Chinese drywall.

Mulholland told attendees that his tests of  five samples of Chinese drywall found evidence of fungi and bacteria in all five. One sample also included fecal matter,  but it is not clear if that contamination originated with  the manufacturer or installer.

According to New Times, Mulholland said that the bacteria is feeding on organic matter in the Chinese drywall that is not present in domestically manufactured wallboard.  This process could be responsible for the sulfur odors homeowners have reported.  Mulholland also said the bacteria can become airborne, and homeowners could breath it in.  In a phone interview with New Times, Mulholland said the bacteria present in the drywall could "lead to significant health issues."  

Mulholland also said the presence of the bacteria was evidence the Chinese drywall was manufactured incorrectly.


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