Despite disagreement by the CPSC, the Louisiana Senator David Vitter is reportedly calling for a further investigation into the deaths of eight people he says may be linked to the Chinese drywall in their homes. A spokesman for the CPSC said the deaths were promptly investigated by the commission, which found no link to the drywall.
According to the AP report, since last November, the CPSC has been investigating problems consumers have reported in new homes made with drywall imported from China. The CPSC had found links between the levels of hydrogen sulfide gas emitted from the imported wallboard coupled with formaldehyde, which is commonly found in new homes. The Commission also found it likely that reports of wire and pipe corrosion in the houses was caused by the imported wallboard.
In the flurry of new construction that followed Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, about 3,000 homeowners, most of them in Florida, Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, have reported problems with the Chinese drywall. The CPSC says it has currently reviewed 800 homes. In a letter to federal agencies sent Wednesday, Senator Vitter asked the CPSC and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do more.
The AP reports thousands of homeowners are party to the drywall suits against builders, contractors, suppliers and manufacturers that are currently making their way through the federal courts. Dr. Patricia Williams, a toxicologist at the University of New Orleans hired by plaintiffs' lawyers, said a more thorough probe into the deaths was warranted.
"Each person needs to be looked at individually," Williams said. She said her analyses of the Chinese drywall have found chemical compounds that can lead to death, particularly in people suffering from lung and heart disease.