Will Chinese drywall make you sick?
Thousands of homeowners in Florida are blaming drywall manufactured in China for everything from nosebleeds to corroded wiring.
Mary Ann Schultheis of Parkland, Fla., shows where Chinese drywall has corroded pipes and wiring in her home. © AP
Keith Baker noticed sour smells emanating from the walls of his newly built home in Fort Myers, Fla., soon after he took up residence there in March 2008. Then the copper pipes from the water heater turned black, "as though someone threw soot on them." Soon, Baker and his wife started experiencing sinus problems, dizzy spells and muscle aches. They are among thousands of homeowners in Florida and elsewhere who are blaming such problems on low-quality, imported drywall.
Domestic supplies of the building staple ran short during the building boom of recent years, which was compounded in coastal areas by post-hurricane reconstruction projects. Contractors imported 540 million pounds of drywall from China between 2004 and 2008, according to shipping records surveyed by the Associated Press.
The office of Florida Sen. Bill Nelson estimates that the material may have ended up in as many as 100,000 homes nationwide. Lab analyses obtained by the Florida Department of Health show that the gypsum in some Chinese drywall contains strontium sulfide, a material absent from most samples manufactured in the United States. The EPA tests for this material are still pending, but scientists suspect that this compound, which releases sulfurous gases, could be the cause of homeowner complaints that range from nosebleeds and respiratory ailments to black coatings tarnishing shower fixtures and corroding air-conditioner coils.
Researchers say the evidence isn't conclusive — and point out that not all Chinese drywall is suspect. However, a number of class-action lawsuits have been filed against plasterboard manufacturers and others. Builder Lennar Corporation has identified dozens of houses containing potentially harmful drywall, and has pledged to fund the only known remedy: removing the drywall, replacing damaged plumbing and wiring and relocating homeowners until new materials are installed. In a sure sign that fear is spreading, con men have started hawking bogus test kits and remedies such as chemical sprays and ozone generators.
Homeowners worried about their own wall material can check for a "Made In" stamp or a manufacturer's name on exposed board backs. If no name appears, the Florida attorney general's office recommends an inspection by the builder or a licensed contractor. Meanwhile, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is investigating.
"We need to see what's going on," spokesperson Joe Martyak says. "We will pursue this aggressively but scientifically."
This article was written by Adam Hadhazy for PopularMechanics.com.
dr847 Your full of bull.
I'm a master carpenter.
1. If you where cutting finish grade plywood it would be cut face down [finish side] to prevent
tear out from the saw blade. You would of seen the CHINA STAMP before you cut the plywood.
2. If you where using a $125.00 saw blade/ it would of had 80 to 100 carbide tipped teeth and
it would of cut through them metal shavings like butter with no damage what so ever to that blade.
One of the reasons why I say this is because he was nothing but a piece of crap to deal with on warranty issues during my warranty period. He refused to fix anything but the very small things that went wrong with my house of horrors.
While ten years ago I had the choice of US or Chinese made, today I dont.
You are hard pressed to find anything that is not an import. I have been harping on my wife for years to buy US made, she complains about things breaking just by unwrapping them from the packaging, the quality of Chinese products is getting worse .. and whos to blame? We are! We keep buying this junk and they are not held accountable for the shoddy and unsafe products they supply.
I have zero qualms about returning stuff made in China, I do it on a regular basis when a "made in" label slips by me, I make sure the packaging is ruined so it cant be resold.
My list includes but not limited to: A full set of tires on my truck they tried to slip past me, light fixtures from a remodel I was working on, safety glasses for my workers (really? safety?) breathing respirators (probably made from asbestos) outdoor lighting fixtures that failed in a week ... the list just goes on and on.
One last thing, I got beaten out of a job for a (heated) insulated enclosure, the customer bought one from China, this thing was double wall steel with an insulated core, 6 months later he called and the enclosure had caught fire and burned down, ruining a portion of his building, I inspected what was left of the unit, the steel gauge was thinner than is required by code AND THE WALLS WERE INSULATED WITH CRUMPPLED UP CHINESE NEWSPAPERS!
This is no surprise. "Made in China" is synonymous with "dangerous junk"... whether we're talking about pet foods, people foods (they fed the poisonous pet food to chickens, then tried to sell US the chicken meat to eat, omg!) or cookware, toys, personal products, and now, even building supplies, they are all subject to being DANGEROUS and absolutely JUNK products. So seriously folks, we need to get it through our collective heads... if it's "Made in China" - avoid it like the Black Plague!! When WE stop buying this CRAP... our jobs just MIGHT return here, and we'll get a DECENT product again one of these days. And we just MIGHT get our country back again to boot!
It seems products I purchase at the local lumer yard are getting skimpier, cheaply made, and smaller. The other day we got a 'new style' Stanley box cutter. The package had three languages on it and barely room for the unclear directions. Three of us spent 15 minutes trying to figure out how to get the blade in and ended up taking it back to the store. ALSO, the package stated made in USA, but I know that really means it was made in China. China did after all name one of their cities USA.
My thoughts, "This is the New World Order." The country I grew up in is gone.
THE POP. OF THE USA IS ABOUT 315 MILLION PEOPLE. CANADA HAS ABOUT 33 MILLION PEOPLE WITH TWICE THE LANDMASS AS USA.
CHINA IS SAID TO HAVE ROUGHLY ABOUT 1.9 BILLION PEOPLE AND IS MUCH LARGER THAN CANADA'S LAND MASS.
ALL NATIONS ARE COMPETING FOR PROFITS, TAKING UNWISE SHORTCUTS, COMPETING FOR RAW MATERIALS AND IN THE NOT TO DISTANT FUTURE FOOD WILL BE HIGHLY SOUGHT AFTER WITH THE CLIMATE CHANGES THAT WILL DRAMATICALLY DICTATE WERE CROPS CAN BE GROWN.
ESPIRIT DECORUM (SP?) HAS DIED IN AMERICA. AMERICAN MANAGEMENT IS BETRAYING ITS OWN COUNTRY. IT IS TREASON AND INSANE AS TO WHAT THEY HAVE DONE AND WILL CONTINUE TO DO. JOBS ARE NEVER COMING BACK TO AMERICA. OUR OWN GOVERNMENT LISTENS TO SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS AND LOBBYIST WITH THEIR OWN SELFISH AGENDAS.
CONGRESS HAS HAD 230 + YEARS TO CORRUPT ITS SELF INTO A TWO PARTY SYSTEM THAT'S ENTOMBED IN ROMAN CONCRETE
DO WE REALLY LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY . DOSE OUR VOTE REALLY COUNT?
WHEN ARE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE GOING TO WAKE UP AND USE THE NATIONAL REFERENDUM(SP?) ACT TO CLEAR OUT THIS CORRUPTION THAT THREATENS AMERICA . ALL THE CHINESE NEED TO DO IS JUST WAIT. THEY KNOW THEIR NATIONS FUTURE IS GOING TO BE A BIG WORLD BUSINESS REPLACING THE GOOD OLD USA .
GREED IS OUR BIGGEST ENEMY ON BOTH SIDES.
THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT IS THE BIGGEST WORLDS BUSINESS BUT FOR HOW LONG???
OUR STANDARD OF LIVING IS SLIDING DOWN THAT STEP HILL.
SHOULD WE LEARN TO SPEAK CHINESE? SHOULD WE CHANGE AMERICA TO AMERICACHINA IN NAME ONLY.....ITS COMING AND ITS ALIVE AND WELL FOLKS. HOW MUCH DOSE CHINA NOW OWN OF THE USA IN DOLLARS VERSE THE VALUE OF COUNTLESS AMERICAN ACRES...ARE THEY THREATENING OUR EMIT DOMAIN AS A NATION
THE CHINESE PEOPLE ARE BASICALLY GOOD PEOPLE BUT THEIR GOVERNMENT AND THEIR MILITARY DON'T GIVE A DAMNED ABOUT THEIR PEOPLE THEY ARE JUST A RAW MATERIAL TO BE USED AND THROWN AWAY. CHINA NEEDS TO RE-EXAMINE ITS AGGRESSION IN THE WORLDS MARKET PLACE.
I DON'T LIKE CHINESE PRODUCTS PERIOD. THEIR SHOES HURT MY BIG AMERICAN FEET. THEIR ZIPPERS ALWAYS FAIL! THEY COPY AMERICA. CHEAPLY AND TAKE OUR JOBS BOLDLY!!
OUR CRAFTSMEN AND TRADESMAN ARE THE BEST IN THE WORLD BUT WHEN JOBS DISAPPEAR DUE TO A FUNDAMENTAL RATIO OF CHINESE AT $200 PER MONTH VERSES AN AMERICAN LABORER AT 3,500 PER MONTH....CAPITALISM CHINESE STYLE IS A TUFF DRAGON TO COMPETE AGAINST. CHINESE ISO 9000 IS A BIG JOKE FOLKS.
AMERICAN MANAGEMENT IS SICK AND IN THEORY MISGUIDED TERRIBLY.
IN SIMPLE SUMMATION WE ARE IN DYNAMIC TIMES OF CHANGING THE WORLDS POWERS TO BE. AMERICANS NEED TO REALLY WAKE UP AND SIMPLE DEMONSTRATE A PEACEFUL REVOLUTION AT ALL TIMES IN OUR AMERICAN DEMOCRACY. THOMAS JEFFERSON HAD IT RIGHT. SIMPLY LET YOUR ELECTED OFFICIAL KNOW THAT THE POWER IS GIVEN BY THE PEOPLE TO THEIR GOVERNMENT BY VOTE NOT BY LOBBYIST AND SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS AND VERY SICK AMERICAN MANAGEMENT. GOD BLESS THIS COUNRTY AND ITS HARD WORKING PEOPLE.
As further proof that you save nothing by buying Chicom trash, a few years back I bought three handscrew woodworking clamps. They were made in Canada. They weren't as good as real Jorgensens but they worked fine, still do, and were considerably less expensive. A few months later I went back to get a couple more. They were there, same price, same brand, but made in China. Out of a dozen the store had I didn't find one that was useable even brand new. No sale, needless to say. That must have been seven or eight years ago. Today I was using those clamps and a real Jorgensen that I've had for thirty-five years. All work just fine.
Simple solution DON'T BUY CHICOM TRASH. If the label doesn't say where it's made it's probably Chicom trash. Just don't buy it.
I used to be a superintendent for a national homebuilder. I heard lots of comments from buyers about how homebuilding companies use cheap materials, use Mexican laborers, cut corners, etc. Unfortunately, this has been driven by the tremendous competition between homebuilders and the huge emphasis on the part of buyers for the lowest cost per square foot. I have seen purchasing departments favor cheaper materials that might save the company maybe 2 cents per square foot. The point is, every dollar counts in the cost of building the product because most consumers look at the price tag first and quality second, if at all. It's the same reason people shop at WalMart before complaining that our jobs are going overseas.
Anyway, I could build you a great house with all American materials, American labor, and workmanlike quality and great attention to detail... AND NOBODY WOULD BUY IT. Why? Because nobody wants to pay $200K for a house that looks like the $140K house next door that will appraise for approximately the same amount, due to the lot and living square footage, not the quality. And unless you're ready to lay down a huge down payment, don't be surprised if you can't get a mortgage on the house, assuming that you were willing to sign a note on the most expensive house in the neighborhood. It won't appraise for what was put into it. So consumers and lenders have become accustomed to a certain price in a certain area, and unless there is a shift in the willingness of the public to accept higher costs, the current way of doing things will continue.
That really sucks for all the homeowners who probably unknowingly had this inferior product installed into their otherwise safe new homes, but there is no mention of the drywallers who worked day in and out with this product possibly for years. When you cut drywall for light and outlet openings A LOT of dust becomes airborne. I imagine these workers must be most at risk for long term health problems. Who's gonna foot the bill for their healthcare. Not China, I know that much.
As far as I'm concerned, not a single one of their products should be allowed to be imported into North America until proven safe. What may seem cheap initially could end up costing PLENTY more in the long run. What's that saying, In for a penny in for a pound?
Ok people you complain about China what's the problem you buy everything from there look around your home i say 90 percent of everything tvs microwaves take a look and why cheep and why because when we make something is so expensive because of our wages why because we have allot of these older people double dipping in our country that should be retired and still working for what retire let someone else have a job so we that don't make 200 thousand a year can buy better things and not go cheep i live in Michigan and i see allot of wood coming from Canada cheaper that is the word for today we have to because of the lack of work but anyway i do believe we should only import and export equal not import 4 to 1 like we do but we do need to blame ourselves for this we just let it get too far.
Where are the government standards we all abide by when we go into business. Isn't there regulations on all imports that come to our shores. And one real sore spot I have is tariffs put on by these countries of our exports. I say let them receive the same tariffs put on our products. When the weak minded government we have finally wake up change will come. We have already seen some. Hopefully Obama will get the Democrats off their butts and do something. Health care is a major start. At least he is trying. More then I can say for Bush and his antiquated low life Republicans. Albeit some Republicans do have some morals.