In the first decade of this century, the construction industry across Tennessee, North Carolina and the rest of the U.S. boomed. It was also during this time that millions of tons of sheetrock were imported from China.
According to the Chinese Drywall Complaint Center, it’s estimated over 500 million pounds of drywall (…or sheetrock) containing a variety of toxins were imported. Ordinarily, drywall for domestic construction is manufactured entirely in the U.S. In response to increased demand though, the import of Chinese drywall began around 2001 and accelerated rapidly following the disastrous hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 (…especially Hurricane Katrina).
By all available evidence, import of Chinese drywall ended in 2007 when the housing boom started to cool.
The damage was done though, especially in homes in the Deep South. Figures show Florida was the hardest hit state but the toxic drywall is considered to be a national problem. Any area with high heat and humidity – which we see plenty of here – can cause the toxic drywall to become a real nuisance, even real danger.
It’s also been reported that homes in Canada may have toxic drywall imported from China as well.
Toxic drywall can be quite noticeable if conditions are right. Laboratory samples have identified emissions of carbon disulfide, carbonyl sulfide and hydrogen sulfide – each are substances that pose tremendous hazards to human health.
These emissions smell like rotten eggs, which is certainly noticeable, and unpleasant.
Homeowners with toxic drywall have reported a variety of health problems, including asthma attacks, chronic coughing, difficulty breathing, chronic headaches and sinus issues.
In the home itself, the toxic drywall causes all sorts of issues, many of which are found in copper wiring and components found in electrical wiring, A/C systems and even electronic devices like TVs and radios. Reactions with hydrogen sulfide cause copper components to turn black and powdery.
It’s even been reported that silver jewelry can be ruined by this reaction.
Absent of these reactions, the only way to find out if you have toxic drywall is to tear sections off and look on the other side of the drywall. It’s estimated that toxic drywall from 20 companies was imported into the U.S. between 2001 and 2008. Many of these companies, like Knauff-Tianjin, are currently facing several lawsuits.
If you discover your home has toxic Chinese drywall, it can cost thousands to repair. While some homeowners in Florida and elsewhere have received compensation, the process in quite chaotic, especially considering the lack of federal involvement in the issue.
If you’re looking to purchase a home built between 2001 and 2008, be sure you get a thorough inspection to insure the home doesn’t have toxic Chinese drywall. This is especially important if the home is a foreclosure.
And if you’re experiencing problems in your home and believe it’s due to toxic drywall, click on over to the Chinese Drywall Complaint Center for more information. There you can find sample letters to provide your lender and more about what to look for in your home.
While Tennessee and North Carolina hasn’t experienced the brunt of this problem, there are still many homes in our region that have this toxic substance. If you’ve been adversely affected, contact Tennessee product liability attorneys at Gilreath & Associates to discuss your options today.