Chinese drywall problems may not be confined to the U.S. Earlier this year, various media outlets reported that some homeowners in Canada had also been complaining about odors and other problems associated with Chinese drywall.
In the U.S., consumers in 24 states have filed a total of 877 Chinese drywall complaints with the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Most complaints have come from Florida (658) and Louisiana (105). Other states with Chinese drywall reports include: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Chinese drywall poured into the U.S. between 1999 and 2007 because of the high demand created by the housing boom. Imports accelerated when the rebuilding that followed Hurricane Charley in Florida in 2004, and Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast in 2005, created a drywall shortage.
Though there was no comparable shortage in Canada at that time, it does appear that Chinese drywall was imported into that country through Vancouver. In May 2009, various Canadian media outlets reported that about a dozen homeowners in Metro Vancouver had experienced health problems possibly caused by the drywall. The complaints were reportedly coming from Surrey, Richmond, Burnaby and West Vancouver.
Published estimates said as much as 929,000 square meters of Chinese drywall arrived in Canada through Vancouver between 2001 and 2007. In addition to lower British Columbia, some Chinese drywall may have been shipped to Canada’s Prairie Provinces and as far east as Toronto.
According to a report in the Canada’s Journal of Commerce, any drywall that entered the country would have been required to be certified by the Canada Standards Association. One builder told the publication that if Chinese drywall had entered Canada, it would have been “unsanctioned” or possibly “black market” activity.
For months now, we have reported on homeowner complaints regarding Chinese drywall. Gases emitted from the drywall are being blamed for significant property damage, including damage to HVAC systems, smoke detectors, electrical wiring, metal plumbing components, and other household appliances. These gases also produce a sulfurous odor, similar to fireworks or rotten eggs, that permeates homes, and cause metals, including air conditioning coils and even jewelry, to corrode.
The Chinese drywall epidemic has spawned scores of product liability lawsuits across the U.S. Six hundred of those cases have been consolidated in the Chinese-Manufactured Drywall Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2047) currently underway in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon is presiding over the litigation, and it is expected that the first Chinese drywall trials will begin before the end of the year.