Chinese Drywall Cleared in Ft. Bragg Deaths, Army Says

We recently wrote that, following the deaths of ten children in three years, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) was conducting tests at Fort Bragg. Now, the US Army says that tests on building materials, including Chinese drywall, used in the homes revealed nothing that would have caused the deaths, said the News Observer.

The agency was testing the homes where the infants died to ascertain if defective drywall was the culprit and was also spearheading a nationwide probe into defective Chinese drywall cases. The military ordered testing following reports of infant deaths at its housing on a large base near Fayetteville, said the News Observer.

The babies were two weeks to eight months of age. One baby’s cause of death was deemed Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; however, medical experts cannot confirm a cause in seven other deaths; two more are under investigation.

According to Colonel Stephen Sicinski, garrison commander at Fort Bragg, “I’m pretty confident that the homes are safe,” quoted News Observer. Sicinski noted that these findings are not meant as closure for the grieving families and that investigations into the babies’ deaths continues, reported the News Observer.

Meanwhile, according to documents obtained by the Fayetteville Observer, toxic Chinese drywall may have actually been involved, said the News Observer. Based on an initial CPSC inspection of one home, the paperwork suggests toxic drywall might have been in that home, added the News Observer.

Since late 2008, the CPSC has received more than 3,500 reports from residents in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico regarding defective Chinese drywall. Gases emitted from Chinese drywall are being blamed for significant property damage, including damage to HVAC systems, smoke detectors, electrical wiring, metal plumbing components, and other household appliances.

The gases also produce a sulfurous odor that permeates homes, and cause metals, including air conditioning coils and even jewelry, to corrode. People living with Chinese drywall have suffered eye, respiratory, and sinus problems that may be linked to the gases. The CPSC says the only way to remediate defective Chinese drywall is to remove the wallboard and the electrical wiring and other components from affected homes.

Another home where, tragically, two babies died in a 14-month period, revealed “corroded metal fixtures and blackened copper piper fittings,” said the News Observer, which noted the findings were made by a commission agent who visited the home in September. The CPSC took drywall from that and other homes and is still conducting tests its spokesman told the News Observer. Despite that the Army has concluded that there is no connection to the toxic building materials, Criminal Investigation Command and other federal agencies continue to investigate, said a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

We’ve long noted that defective drywall was mostly brought into this country between 2004 and 2008 and recently wrote that even more companies than previously thought knew about tainted Chinese drywall as early as 2006, but kept quiet about its problems.

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