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Florida Chinese Drywall Bills Would Set Up Task Force, Set Wallboard Standards

Jan 6, 2010 | Parker Waichman LLP

A Florida state senator, frustrated by what he calls a slow government response to the Chinese drywall crisis, has introduced several bills aimed at addressing the problem. 

According to Bradenton.com, one of the bills introduced by Sen. David Aronberg, D-Greenacres, calls for the formation of a 19-member task force that would include a health official, a homeowner with Chinese drywall, a physician, an attorney, a consumer advocate and a representative of the drywall industry. The task force would, among other things, study the drywall’s health risks, and set remediation standards. The bill would also direct the Florida Building Commission to set limits on the amounts of sulfur and strontium within drywall.

Aronberg had already asked Florida Governor Charlie Crist to form a drywall task force, but according to Bradenton.com that has not been done.

Aronberg has also introduced a bill that would require the state to establish licensing standards for those remediating Chinese drywall, while another would lead to minimum inspection requirements for metal corrosion in homes with Chinese drywall, Bradenton.com said.

Similar bills have not been introduced in Florida’s House, but according to Bradenton.com, Aronberg said he is working with a state representative who plans to introduce such legislation.

Of the more than 2,700 complaints regarding Chinese drywall made to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), most – 1,615 – have come from Florida. 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.

Last summer, tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency found that Chinese-manufactured drywall contained elevated levels of strontium sulfide, as well as the presence of several organic compounds associated with the production of acrylic paint that were not present in samples of U.S.-made drywall. Other tests released in November by the CPSC of 51 homes confirmed that the presence of hydrogen sulfide is the essential component that causes copper and silver sulfide corrosion found in Chinese drywall homes. Federal investigators are still trying to determine what health risks exposure to drywall gases might pose.


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