Should You be Worried About Chinese drywall?
What it is, and Why Thousands of
Homeowners’ Health May be at Risk
© 2021 Health Realizations, Inc. Update
Contaminated drywall from China, used to build more than 60,000 homes in at least a dozen states, may be emitting toxic levels of chemical pollutants like sulfur into new homes.
Thousands of homeowners have had their new home dreams turn into nightmares because of potentially contaminated Chinese drywall.
More than 500 million pounds of potentially tainted Chinese building materials may have been imported into the United States, particularly to Florida, at the height of the housing boom, according to shipping records reviewed by The Associated Press (AP).
The drywall lets off fumes that smell like rotten eggs and are potent enough to corrode copper pipes and make jewelry and silverware turn black. In fact, one of the telltale signs that a home may contain Chinese drywall is corroded piping and wiring that causes electronics and appliances, including air conditioners, to fail.
Some homeowners have also issued lawsuits alleging the drywall has caused health effects ranging from headaches and sore throats to dizziness and respiratory illness.
"This is a traumatic problem of extraordinary proportions," said U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler in an AP article.
Wexler has introduced a bill calling for a temporary ban on Chinese-made building imports until their chemical makeup is investigated further. Florida has been particularly hard-hit with Chinese drywall problems.
Why is Chinese Drywall Potentially Toxic?
According to ChineseDrywall.com, compounds such as butanethial, carbonyl sulfide, hydrogen sulfide, mercaptan, methylthio pyridone, sulfuric acid, sulfurous acid, sulfur dioxide and stronium sulfide have been found in Chinese drywall.
So far, the Florida Department of Health has said that levels of toxins are not high enough to pose an “imminent or chronic health problem at this time,” but the U.S. EPA has previously declared many of those compounds to be toxic.
The U.S. government does not regulate chemical ingredients in imported drywall, and investigations into why Chinese drywall may be emitting sulfur and other fumes are ongoing. However, theories suggest fumigants sprayed on the drywall and material inside it could be one reason.
Further, drywall is typically made from gypsum, a type of mineral that is either mined or manufactured from the byproducts of coal-fired power plants. The tainted drywall, on the other hand, may be made from fly ash, a coal byproduct that is less refined and typically used to make concrete.
In Southern states like Florida, the problem appears to be compounded by the damp climate, which is causing the gypsum to degrade even more quickly.
If your home has the odor of rotten eggs, frequent damage to your air conditioning system, wiring or pipes, or if you’ve been experiencing health symptoms such as respiratory problems, nosebleeds, headaches or irritated eyes that resolve when you leave your home, you should contact your state’s Department of Health, and also consider hiring an attorney.
Chinese Drywall is Not the Only Potentially Toxic Building Material
Home-building materials are often toxic, whether they come from China or right here in the United States. Although you may not smell, see or taste it, construction materials emit various gasses and other compounds into your home, many of which are highly toxic. Some of the worst offenders are:
Your Home’s Air May be Contaminated ...
Remove smoke, dust, pet dander, mold, bacteria, pollen, chemical vapors and more from your home and office air with consideration of an air treatment filtration systems so you and your family can breathe freely with less health concerns.
Toxic materials like these are part of the reason why the Environmental Protection Agency says that indoor air can be two to five times (and even up to 100 times) more polluted than outdoor air.
Because of this, having a high-quality air purifier is now as essential as having locks on your doors. Look for one that is effective against particulate such as pollen, dust, pet dander, and smoke, AS WELL AS mold, mildew, organic odors, and chemical vapors (such as formaldehyde).
Adding an effective air treatment system to your home is a simple step, yet one that could go a long way to protect your family’s health.