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Louisiana Chinese Drywall Fund Not Enough

Aug 20, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP A Louisiana fund set up to help the victims of defective Chinese drywall may not be adequate, according to a report in The Advocate.   Considering the number of affected homes in the state, the $5 million recently  set aside by the Louisiana legislature won't be enough to repair every home with Chinese drywall.

Consumers in 24 states have filed a total of 1046 Chinese drywall complaints with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC).  Gases emitted from the 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, similar to fireworks or rotten eggs, that permeates homes, and cause metals, including air conditioning coils and even jewelry, to corrode.

Earlier this summer, tests conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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. The Florida Health Department is expected to release test results that could shed more light on potential health hazards in September. The EPA and other government agencies are also conducting health testing, and those results should also be available soon.

Only Florida outranks Louisiana in the number of drywall complaints filed with the CPSC. To help homeowners, the Louisiana legislature passed a law directing at $5 million of the state’s Road Home recovery program, or other available state and federal money, go toward an Imported Tainted Drywall Assistance Program. 

At the monthly board meeting of the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA), housing task force member Randy Noel said that as many as 1,000 homes with Chinese drywall may need remediation.   Those homes include many that had to be rebuilt following Hurricane Katrina.

According to the Advocate, Noel told the board that remediating Chinese drywall homes goes beyond simply moving and replacing wallboard.  Homes have to be gutted to the bare walls, and then put back together again.  The cost for each home is somewhere around $100,000. “Five million dollars is not going to put a dent in it,” Noel  said.

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