U.S. homes with Chinese drywall should be gutted, says CPSC

Interior photo of a gutted home. For American homeowners with Chinese drywall from such manufacturers as Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Company, this may become a common sight.

Thousands of Americans with toxic Chinese drywall will have to do this to their homes. (Photo: Wikipedia)

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has finally come forward with new guidelines that call for homes built with toxic Chinese drywall to be gutted, according to the Associated Press. That includes corroded wiring, outlets, circuit breakers, gas pipes and nearly everything in between. The impact on affected homeowners runs deeper. As CPSC commission chair Inez Tenenbaum told the AP, “We want families to tear it all out and rebuild the interior of their homes, and they need to start this to get their lives started all over again.”

When Chinese drywall equals chemical assault

Hydrogen sulfide has been detected in amounts 100 times greater than that found in drywall made outside China. The Chinese drywall can cause health ailments related to the throat, nose and lungs, as well as headaches. Homeowners have paid with their health, but who will pay for gutting their homes? That’s what Florida Sen. Bill Nelson wants to know. “The way I see it, homeowners didn’t cause this. The manufacturers in China did,” Nelson exclaimed to the media. “That’s why we’ve got to go after the Chinese government now.” That’s a much more worthy goal than chasing the payday loans industry, for certain.

Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin may be one guilty party to chase in court

Currently, about 2,100 U.S. homeowners have filed suit against Chinese manufacturers like Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co., as well as the U.S. companies that sold the drywall. There are thousands more homeowners waiting in the wings to follow suit. Those homeowners who could afford to gut the homes themselves have already gone forward, but are demanding that Congress give them grants to cover the costs. Truly, most people in the market for cheap payday loans can’t afford to completely rebuild the insides of their homes.

Some say the Chinese drywall situation is overstated

Former Louisiana Home Builders Association President Randy Noel told the AP the Chinese drywall problem as “been exaggerated,” and that the CPSC’s new rules are “overkill.” What an unfortunate word choice, considering that prolonged hydrogen sulfide exposure can kill someone. Yet Noel thinks that a little black soot on copper, brass and silver in the home is no big deal. Wipe it off, he says. Nose bleeds, headaches and breathing problems are probably just psychosomatic illnesses for people in Florida, Louisiana or any other area of the U.S. that has had to rebuild in recent years after disaster-level weather. Perhaps it is Noel’s cavalier attitude that made him the “former” president of the association.

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