A new bill just passed, banning the use of Chinese drywall, a controversial home product that has negatively impacted thousands of homeowners nationwide.
The Congressional move is meant to stop the use of drywall, which has been blamed for corroding pipes and breathing problems in the homes and to the residents of thousands of homes in some 39 states, many in Florida, said the Sun Sentinel. The bill was sponsored by South Florida Congressman, Ted Deutch (Democrat-Boca Raton).
The bill has also given hope to homeowners seeking to sue Chinese manufacturers and recover their drywall replacement costs, noted the Sun Sentinel. “Most of the houses have been repaired, and people are moving forward,” Michael Udine, mayor of Parkland, told the Sun Sentinel. In Parkland, hundreds of homes were built using the dangerous, Chinese imported drywall. “But any level of relief we can give those residents would be welcomed, because many were devastated,” Udine noted. Congress sent the bill to President Barack Obama Tuesday evening.
The bill, explained the Sun Sentinel, relies on diplomatic pressure to help Chinese drywall victims obtain compensation, directs the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to schedule a meeting between Chinese drywall makers and U.S. officials on homeowner compensation, and urges the Commerce Department to insist that the Chinese government direct drywall companies to submit to the jurisdiction and judgments of the U.S. courts, the Sun Sentinel explained.
As we’ve written, for at least the last five years, adversely affected homeowners who purchased houses built with defective Chinese drywall, or had their homes remodeled with the dangerous product, have been seeking damages for the property damage they’ve incurred. The toxic drywall has also been blamed for health complications such as skin and eye irritations and breathing difficulties. Many have been forced from their homes and have become financially handicapped paying for two homes and numerous failed remedies to the problem.
It is believed that more than 10,000 homeowners across the country could be affected by Chinese drywall. As many homeowners struggled through several options to remedy their homes of the problems the defective drywall caused, it took until the U.S, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ruled that homes with the product should be nearly fully gutted to alleviate these woes. This has put financial strain on many homeowners as they struggled to hold someone liable for the damage.
“For those whose lives have been turned upside down by Chinese drywall, we’re trying to give them a chance to seek justice,” Deutch, told the Sun Sentinel. “It’s not clear we will succeed, but this is the most serious effort undertaken, to date, to give people the opportunity to pursue the compensation they rightly deserve. It also ensures that none of the Chinese drywall that came in 2006 and 2007 will be recycled and reused in any other homes.”
“This [drywall] was like a silent hurricane that came through the city and damaged a lot of people,” Mayor Udine told the Sun Sentinel. “We had subdivisions really, really hard hit. I walked down blocks where 11 out of 12 houses were affected,” Udine added. “I’m hopeful this will give people a way to redress their problems.”