Chinese Drywall Probe Launched by CPSC

Federal regulators are investigating complaints about defective Chinese drywall that have been coming from homeowners in Florida.  According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s (CSPC) decision to investigate the Chinese drywall problems comes just as similar complaints are popping up in other states.

As we’ve been reporting, owners of newer homes in South Florida have been complaining of drywall that smells like rotten eggs. In many cases, residents have had to leave their home because the smell was so bad.  In addition to the putrid smell, many South Florida homeowners have reported problems with air conditioning and other systems that are likely related to the defective Chinese drywall.  Some spent hundreds – even thousands of dollars – to have air conditioning, pipes and wiring repaired.

According to a report on earlier this week, the Florida Health Department has so far received 90 complaints regarding defective Chinese drywall.  The complaints come from 15 counties. New reports have also indicated that problems with Chinese drywall might extend beyond Florida.  The head of one consumer advocacy group told that it has received drywall complaints from homeowners in Michigan, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Maryland, North and South Carolina, New York and New Jersey.  Given the amount of Chinese drywall that has been imported to the U.S. since 2004, the group estimates that the problem could affect as many as 10,000 Florida homes, and thousands more nationwide, said.

As we reported last week, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, had asked both the CPSC and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate the drywall reports.  Now, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the CPSC will begin such a probe.  The investigation will focus on  whether the sulfur-based gases emitted from the drywall are corroding household wiring and posing a potential safety hazard, the Journal said.

Meanwhile, another Florida builder – Taylor Morrison – has acknowledged that homes it built are at the center of some Florida drywall complaints.  According to The Wall Street Journal, the company said it has identified the material in eight homes, and is working to relocate residents while the drywall is replaced.

As we have reported earlier, Lennar Homes had earlier acknowledged drywall problems in dozens of its homes.  Like Taylor Morrison, the company is relocating homeowners and replacing drywall.  WCI Construction, a Florida builder that is currently in bankruptcy, also admitted using the drywall – three days after the legal deadline had passed for anyone to file claims against it.

Meanwhile, Florida’s Lt. Governor is threatening to sue his builder, Aubuchon Homes, after defective Chinese drywall caused problems in his Ft. Meyers home.  According to a report on, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp said his lawyers are working with Aubuchon to resolve his issues, and a lawsuit won’t happen if Aubuchon’s insurance company agrees “to make the lieutenant governor’s home whole.”

Other homeowners in Florida have already filed suit against the manufacturers and suppliers of the defective Chinese drywall. One class action complaint filed by the Bonita Springs law firm of <"">Parker Waichman Alonso LLP charges that the makers and distributors of the drywall negligently manufactured and sold the defective drywall, which was “unreasonably dangerous” in normal use because it caused corrosion to air-conditioning and electrical components, and caused coughing and irritation of sinuses, eyes and throats. It goes on to state that, “when combined with moisture in the air, these sulfur compounds create sulfuric acid.”

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