Defective Chinese Drywall Could Be in Dozens of Other StatesMar 5, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
A consumer advocacy group is claiming that potentially defective Chinese drywall has been found in 41 states. According to a report on News-Press.com, the group, America's Watchdog, has said that 250 million feet of the drywall came into the United States from China. The drywall enterd into ports located along the West Coast - including Long Beach and Oakland, California, and Seattle, Washington. It also entered from ports in New York, New Jersey and Florida, the group said.
Since January, the Florida Health Department has received close to 100 complaints about drywall that has polluted homes with a putrid, “rotten-egg” smell. Many homeowners have also complained that the fumes are causing air conditioning coils and other metals to corrode. The health department has said that most of the homes being investigated were built after 2004, but one home that is the subject of complaints was built in 2001.
The problems have sparked at least four class action lawsuits in the state. One of the first was filed in January by the Bonita Springs law firm of Parker Waichman LLP. The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, charges that Knauf Plasterboard and other defendants negligently manufactured and sold the defective drywall, which was “unreasonably dangerous” in normal use because it caused corrosion to air-conditioning and electrical components, and caused coughing and irritation of sinuses, eyes and throats. It goes on to state that, “when combined with moisture in the air, these sulfur compounds create sulfuric acid.
According to America's Watchdog, its environmental testing has found defective drywall in 41 states. In addition to Florida, those states also include Virginia, California, Arizona, Nevada, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Texas.
According to News-Press, the head of the group said that because most of drywall came in through the West Coast, California and Arizona could ultimately have bigger problems than what is currently being seen in Florida.
Many U.S. drywall manufacturers could also be affected because Knauf Plasterboard - the Chinese company that manufactured the drywall - sold the material to U.S. companies through a "private label" program, America's Watchdog said. Under such an agreement, Knauf supplied drywall would be re-labeled and distributed under the U.S. manufacturer's name.
A representative for an industry group told News-Press that the organization had no knowledge of such arrangements. But at least one Florida homeowner has reported drywall problems in a home built with drywall bearing the label of a U.S. maker.