The Consumer Product Safety Commission on Monday reported the results of an indoor air study that confirmed what many homeowners and builders suspected: defective Chinese drywall stinks and causes corrosion of metals.
The study tested air quality in 51 homes, 41 of which were the subject of complaints, and corrosion in two homes with installed Chinese drywall. "We now can show a strong association between homes with the problem drywall and the levels of hydrogen sulfide in those homes and corrosion of metals in those homes," the CPSC said it a press statement.
The sampling took place between July and September and was conducted by Environmental Health & Engineering, a Massachusetts environmental testing firm. The company found that hydrogen sulfide gas is the essential component that causes copper and silver sulfide corrosion found in the complaint homes. Other factors, including air exchange rates, formaldehyde and other air contaminants contributed to the reported problems."In ways still to be determined, hydrogen sulfide gas is being created in homes built with Chinese drywall," the statement said.
The company also showed the effectiveness of technologies including hand-held x-ray fluorescence (XRF) and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) instruments at detecting markers that could identify Chinese-made drywall at a sheet-by-sheet level. That should allow for less costly and intrusive testing procedures to identify problems with drywall.
"We now have the science that enables the Task Force to move ahead to the next phase--to develop both a screening process and effective remediation methods," said said CPDC chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Ongoing studies will examine health and safety effects, but we are now ready to get to work fixing this problem."
The CPSC also said it has been monitoring the import of drywall from China and is confident that none has entered the U.S. In caldendar 2009. It also has located existing inventories of defective drywall and has obtained assurances from those who hold those inventories that they will not be sold.
To date, CPSC has received more than 2000 reports from 32 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico from consumers and homeowners concerned about problem drywall in their homes. Several big builders, including Lennar, WCI and M/I homes, have set aside funds to cover defective drywall remediation projects.