Senators seek halt to Chinese drywall imports
New legislation offered in the Senate this week attempts to spur a recall and immediate import ban on Chinese drywall following reports by a Florida home builder and state officials that the product is emitting sulfide gas in homes in Florida and Louisiana.
The sulfur creates a rotten-egg smell, destroys residential wiring and appliances, and poses health risks.
The bill by Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., urges the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to recall the Chinese-made drywall and issue a temporary ban on drywall imports until federal drywall safety standards can be created. It also asks the CPSC to work with federal labs and the Environmental Protection Agency to determine the level of danger from exposure to the chemicals and compounds in the drywall.
'This defective Chinese drywall represents an attack on our homeowners, a defrauding of our homebuilders and another obstacle on our road to recovery,” Sen. Landrieu said in a statement. “The Consumer Product Safety Commission should have been the first line of defense in preventing this inferior product from entering the U.S. market in the first place.'
Since 2006, more than 550 million pounds of drywall have been imported to the United States from China, including 60 million pounds in Louisiana and 27 million pounds in Mississippi. Much of the drywall in those states was used to rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. An estimated 60,000 to 100,000 homes nationwide may contain Chinese-made drywall.
Under the legislation, Chinese manufacturers would be responsible for the cost of repairs or replacement of defective drywall.
A number of homeowners have filed lawsuits, and homebuilders are suing the manufacturers of the drywall, according to Landrieu's office. Homeowner lawsuits contend the drywall has damaged homes and that residents have suffered adverse health effects such as asthma as a result of exposure.
The CPSC launched an investigation into the drywall problem in late February at the request of Nelson. ' Eric Kulisch