Florida Lawmakers Hold Chinese Drywall MeetingApr 9, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Two Florida lawmakers met with homeowners yesterday in West Palm Beach to discuss the state's Chinese drywall problems. Attendees told Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., that they were most concerned about health problems posed by the sulfur fumes the drywall is emitting.
The Florida Health Department has received over 150 complaints of Chinese drywall that emits a “rotten eggs” odor and causes metals, such as air conditioning coils, to corrode. In some homes, the drywall problems have been so severe that families have had to move, and some builders have begun gutting and replacing drywall in the buildings. It is estimated that the defective material could have been used in as many as 36,0000 homes in the state.
The drywall fumes have also been associated with respiratory and sinus problems in some residents. But so far, testing has not determined if people exposed to the drywall might face serious health risks. According to WFLX-TV, homeowners attending yesterday's meeting were most concerned with health consequences.
"For me and my family we have to move out because I will not risk my family's health in this home," said John Willis, a homeowner from Parkland, Florida in Broward County.
"We need help because we're all trapped in the same toxic situation," said Brian Eisenberg, a homeowner who lives near Boynton Beach.
According to WPBF.com, Nelson - who had spent the previous days touring homes built with the drywall - agreed that their concerns were valid.
"Every time I walked into one of those homes in the last three days, I was getting congested and it was very obvious," the Senator told the crowd.
Both Nelson and Wexler have sponsored legislation calling for a recall of Chinese drywall, as well as further testing and a ban on the product. Nelson has also called for the resignation of the head of the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) to step down because of the agency's slow response to the drywall issue.
While Florida is "ground zero" for the Chinese drywall disaster, problems have cropped up across the county. Other states reporting drywall problems include Virginia, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. 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. Some estimates say Chinese drywall may have been used in as many as 100,000 U.S. homes.