What is wrong with Chinese Drywall?
Chinese drywall produces gases that cause a multitude of problems. These gases react with latent airborne humidity and create a corrosive environment that wreaks havoc on many common metals used in construction. Most notably, this corrosive environment has a profound impact on copper elements. Because drywall is so prevalent in a home, the results are dramatic. Air conditioning systems fail within a year, appliances are replaced on a regular basis, and electronics degrade rapidly. In addition, there are some reports of house fires as a result of corroded copper wiring.
Issues range from corrosion to severe chronic health issues. Although Chinese drywall has not been affirmatively linked to health issues, the evidence is mounting. Dozens of reports contain details about adverse health effects. The health issues range from chronic mild headaches to crippling migraines. Upper respiratory illnesses and sinus infections have also been linked to defective drywall. The effect of problematic drywall on human health is being officially studied by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the EPA. Of specific interest is that CPSC investigators analyzing Chinese drywall problems experienced similar symptoms when conducting in-home visits to homes reportedly affected by defective drywall.
More specifically, this drywall emits a sulfide gas that combines with water in the air. The combination results in hydrogen sulfide, which is highly corrosive. In addition, the government has identified that adults should not be exposed to hydrogen sulfide levels in excess of 10 ppm (parts per million) for longer than 10 minutes. It should be noted that this exposure level is for adults and for a short duration. Acceptable exposure levels for children have not been studied yet. Similarly, the consequences of long term exposure to lower levels have not been determined. Hydrogen sulfide is also known to be responsible for the “rotten egg” smell that many home owners have reported in addition to hydrogen sulfide and carbon disulfide. While the government restricts exposure to this gas to just 1 ppm, the consequences appear to be more severe. Adverse health effects of exposure to carbon disulfide include damage to the nervous system, cardiovascular system, and reproductive systems. Like hydrogen sulfide, the long term effects of low level exposures and the acceptable level of exposure as a child have not been determined.
What is Chinese Drywall?
What is Chinese Drywall? This term has become a generic term describing any tainted drywall. Chinese drywall is another common term to describe any of this toxic drywall material. Several reports indicated that the suspect drywall is not limited to drywall manufactured in China; however some Canadian and US drywall have shown up as tainted as well. Some of this drywall was originally manufactured in China and re-branded in Canada and the US. The Florida Department of Health has identified some of these manufacturers. http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/community/indoor-air/casedefinition.html
Investigations are ongoing. The Consumer Products Safety Commission, as well as several other government agencies are heading up the efforts to look into Chinese drywall. Currently, it is not clear exactly when this toxic drywall was imported to the United States. The majority of cases have been reported in the Southeast, but several reports seem to indicate that Chinese drywall problems are likely to show up across the country symptoms slowly manifest.
Facts about Chinese drywall:
·Emits gas that combines with airborne humidity to create a corrosive environment inside the home.
·Damages most metal components inside a home.
·Potentially causes adverse health effects.
·The fear and stigma associated with Chinese drywall also known as toxic drywall, make it hard to sell a home, insure a home, and refinance a home.
·The bulk of the material was imported between 2003 and 2009.
·Chinese drywall inspections are complicated and require specialized equipment.
·Chinese drywall is likely to be the largest product liability issue the construction industry has ever seen. Defective drywall has been conclusively linked, by the Consumer Products Safety Commission, to drastically accelerated corrosion. This toxic drywall emits a gas that combines with latent humidity in the air to create a highly corrosive environment that is potentially hazardous to one's health. This corrosion affects copper wiring, HVAC systems, appliances, and electronics. There are also significant reports associating tainted drywall to health issues, including nose bleeds, upper respiratory infections, sinus infections, headaches, itchiness, and chronic coughing, among others. Some doctors have gone so far as to advise their patients to "get out" of their homes.
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