CPSC Inspecting Chinese Drywall Homes in FloridaMar 27, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Investigators from the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) are on the ground in Florida trying to determine if defective Chinese drywall used in some newer homes in the state poses a health threat.
According to HeraldTribune.com, the Florida Health Department has received at least 155 complaints about Chinese drywall that produces a "rotten eggs" odor in homes. The fumes from the drywall have also been linked to corroding metals in many of the homes, and people living with the material have reported sinus and respiratory problems. Many Florida homeowners have had to leave their homes because the Chinese drywall has made them unlivable, and some builders in the state are scrambling to gut homes and replace the drywall.
Unfortunately, it is becoming apparent that problems involving defective Chinese drywall go far beyond Florida. As we reported earlier this week, a Virginia builder, The Dragas Companies, has confirmed that some of the homes it built contain Chinese drywall. The company is in the process of inspecting is nearly every one of its homes in two developments in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, and is also paying to fix homes with imported drywall and helping residents relocate for a few months while the work is being done.
As we reported last week, a family from New Orleans has also filed a class action lawsuit against several drywall manufacturers. A similar lawsuit has been filed in Alabama, and in Florida, at least four are pending. According to the consumer group America’s Watchdog, drywall from China was likely used in the Deep South, the Midwest, the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest, including Vancouver, British Columbia, and even Hawaii.
Last month, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, had asked both the CPSC and the Environmental Protection Agency to investigate the Chinese drywall problem in the state. According to HeraldTribune.com, the CPSC has had investigators in Florida for several weeks now. They recently began to conduct formal assessments of individual homes. The CPSC's 5-member team consists of two engineers and a toxicologist, along with the commission's director of defect investigations, HeraldTribune.com said.
If the CPSC investigation finds that the Chinese drywall poses a safety hazard, it has the power to stop sales of the material, and bar it from entering the country. According to HeraldTribune.com, the commission could also issue a recall, and subpoena drywall-related records from builders, suppliers and manufacturers.