Chinese Drywall To Be Addressed At Product Safety SummitOct 20, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Chinese drywall will be a major topic of discussion at the U.S.-China product safety summit set to begin in Beijing tomorrow. But according to a report on News-Press.com, one U.S. Senator says he does not expect much to result from the talks.
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has received over 1,500 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.
The U.S. delegation attending tomorrow's summit will be led by Inez Tenenbaum, head of the CPSC. As we reported last week, Tenenbaum has said she will ask Chinese officials if they are prepared to participate in providing funds for drywall homes, and what it would take for that to occur. According to News-Press.com, Tenenbaum's spokesperson said she would appeal to Chinese drywall manufacturers to do "what is fair and just", but did not say whether that meant asking the Chinese firms to provide financial help to homeowners with the defective wallboard, or issuing a recall of the material.
But Senator Bill Nelson, D-Florida, told News-Press.com that he does not expect much from the Chinese. He's speaking from experience, having traveled to China over the summer to discuss the drywall problem. According to News-Press.com, Sen. Nelson said his visit with the Chinese General Administration of Quality, Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine resulted in nothing but "a bunch of bureaucratic gobbledygook." Nelson found his interaction with the head of the Chinese agency frustrating, and told News-Press.com that he got "fed up" when it became obvious the agency was not going to respond.
The summit that begins tomorrow involves the same Chinese agency that frustrated Sen. Nelson. The biennial event will focus on the safety of Chinese-made products sold in the U.S. The Chinese drywall disaster is just the latest scandal involving imports from that country. In 2008, nearly 80 percent of all product recalls in the U.S. involved imports from China. Products like dog food, baby formula, toys with lead paint and even pharmaceuticals like heparin have been found to have been made with toxic materials and other counterfeit ingredients putting U.S. consumers at risk.