First Results Of Gov Study Of Chinese Drywall Inconclusive, But More Tests To Come

Yesterday the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced some findings from its study of the problematic Chinese drywall, which 1,900 Florida homeowners have complained stinks and makes people sick. The commission told the Associated Press that “no connections have been made yet,” but that they’re doing more tests—which means there’s still no definitive answer on who should be held financially responsible if the homes have to be gutted and repaired, which the Wall Street Journal says could cost as much as $25 billion dollars.

According to the Cape Coral Daily Breeze, these are the three tests the CPSC has carried out so far:

  • Elemental and chemical testing, which showed the presence of elemental sulfur in Chinese but not non-Chinese drywall. Testing also showed no presence of radiation in the suspect drywall.
  • Chamber studies, which found that Chinese drywall emits volatile sulfur compounds at a higher rate than non-Chinese drywall.
  • Indoor air studies, which led to the preliminary finding of “detectable” concentrations of acetaldehyde and formaldehyde. The compounds were found in tests conducted in 10 homes in Florida and Louisiana, and in Chinese and non-Chinese drywall.

Weirdly, those are the same results the EPA released back in May. It would be nice to get some new information about whether the drywall is offgassing enough toxins to harm people, especially since the CPSC says it’s already spent $3.5 million studying the project.

The CSPC started its investigation back in February, and maybe it really does take this long to first verify that the material is putting off toxic fumes, then verify that it can produce enough fumes inside a home to cause health problems. But nine months and counting?

“Feds: Chinese drywall reports still inconclusive” [Associated Press]
“Tests: Chinese drywall not tied to health issues” [Cape Coral Daily Breeze]
“U.S. Stops Short of Faulting Drywall” [Wall Street Journal]
(Photo: Velo Steve)