National Gypsum, a U.S. drywall manufacturer, has been hit with a class action lawsuit by Florida homeowners who say the company’s wallboard is causing problems in their houses identical to those blamed on Chinese drywall.
George and Brenda Brinku of Alva, and Lydia and Apolinar Garcia of Cape Coral, are listed as lead plaintiffs in the National Gypsum lawsuit. According to the Sarasota Herald Tribune, the Brinku’s home contains only domestic drywall, and 90 percent of it was made by National Gypsum. The family has experienced extensive corrosion to their home, and a Florida health official told the Herald Tribune that this past spring that the Brinku’s residence was one of the worst examples of an affected home he had seen.
National Gypsum has tested the Brinku’s home, and says its drywall is not causing the corrosion problems. But according to the Herald Tribune, several weeks ago, University of Florida professor Dr. Timothy Townsend revealed that his tests on National Gypsum drywall made in three states, including Florida, found that sulfur gases were being emitted from the company’s drywall. National Gypsum insists that the gases found by those tests would not be enough to cause the corrosion seen in homes.
The class action complaint against National Gypsum accuses the company of producing “defective American-manufactured drywall in the United States, including Florida” that release sulfur gases tied to corrosion and “irritant effects.” The lawsuit seeks the cost of drywall removal, repair of the damaged components in the home, as well as economic losses, medical monitoring and other steps.
Gases emitted from Chinese drywall have been 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 Consumer Products Safety Commission 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.
Currently, more than 3,000 lawsuits over Chinese drywall are pending in a multidistrict litigation underway in federal court in Louisiana.