Mississippi Home May Have Tainted Chinese DrywallApr 1, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Mississippi has had its first report of Chinese drywall causing problems in a home in that state. According to PicayuneItem.com, the defective drywall was found in a home in Pearl County.
Chinese drywall has been linked to serious problems in homes across the country. In Florida - ground zero for drywall complaints - the 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. The fumes have also been associated with respiratory and sinus problems in some residents. 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.
While Florida has seen the most complaints, the state is hardly alone. Last week, a Virginia builder, The Dragas Companies, confirmed that some of the homes it built contain Chinese drywall. The company is in the process of inspecting 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. 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.
According to the PicayuneItem.com report, a local inspector found evidence of tainted Chinese drywall in a home located in the Round Rock Subdivision in Mississippi's Pearl County. The inspector said that air conditioning coils in the home have been replaced because of corrosion on three occasions. The inspector found Chinese drywall in the home, which was built only three years ago, as well as heavy black corrosion on the copper components of the water heater and electrical wiring, the PicayuneItem.com said. Finally, the inspector described a strong odor in the house, a major characteristic of the sulfur chemicals released from the drywall.
Usually, drywall is manufactured in the U.S., but a shortage between 2004 and 2006 prompted many builders to buy drywall from China. Most of the reported problems stem from drywall imported from China during Florida’s construction boom years of 2004-2005. Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd. of China, a subsidiary of German-based manufacturer Knauf Group, is the company at the focus of Florida’s drywall problems.
The Chinese drywall has prompted several investigations, including one by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Legislation was also introduced in the U.S. Senate this week that could lead to a recall of the tainted Chinese drywall, as well as a temporary import ban on the material. The bill was introduced by Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) in hopes of jump-starting a process for helping affected homeowners with the costs of repairs or replacement, which under their legislation would be the responsibility of the Chinese manufacturers.