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Tainted Drywall: Property Damage and Health Problems Reported

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By David Goguen on May 04, 2009 11:52 AM

Complaints about property damage and health problems linked to tainted drywall manufactured in drywall are on the rise, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced last week, when a team of CPSC experts was in Washington to meet with members of Congress over the problem.

CPSC reports that it has received 180 reports from consumers in 13 states "who believe their health symptoms or the corrosion of certain metal components in their homes are related to the presence of drywall produced in China."

Problems reported to CPSC range from a sulfur "rotten egg" smell in the house, to blackened and corroded home metal components -- most often including replacement of air conditioning parts -- to health complaints. These include itchy eyes, irritated skin, difficulty breathing, persistent cough, bloody noses, runny noses, recurrent headaches, sinus infection, and asthma attacks, according to CPSC.

The majority of complaints reported to CPSC have come from Florida consumers, but problems with contaminated drywall have also been reported in Louisiana, Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, California, Washington, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, Arizona, and Tennessee.

After meeting with member of Congress in the nation's capital last week, in a letter to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord re-affirmed a promise that "the Commission will use every asset available to us -- our engineers, scientists, lawyers, compliance officers and the authorities granted to us by Congress" in seeking a solution to the growing problem of tainted drywall in homes.

Last month, it was announced that the tainted drywall may have been used to rebuild thousands of Gulf Coast homes that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is asking federal health officials for help assessing and remedying the problem.