CPSC Updates Chinese Drywall Investigation

More than 200 new Chinese drywall complaints have been filed with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) since last month, according to the agency’s August Status Report.

Since December, a total of 877 Chinese drywall complaints from 24 states and the District of Columbia have been received by the CPSC. 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.

To date, CPSC staff has confirmed 6,211,200 sheets of Chinese drywall were imported into the U.S., plus 28,778 sheets imported into Guam, Saipan, and American Samoa during 2006. The staff is continuing to verify more shipments, the status report said.

According to the status report, the federal drywall team continues to investigate the scientific bases of the drywall problem. It is also focused on tracing the chain of commerce of the drywall. On the international front, the CPSC has received approval from the Chinese for a visit to China. The agency said its staff is working with the Chinese government to arrange an investigative visit beginning August 17, 2009.

The CPSC said that its engineering staff has visited seven homes in Florida, Louisiana and Virginia, including three homes in July, to harvest samples of electrical, plumbing and safety systems. The agency said it has no confirmed fire incidents involving Chinese drywall.

According to the status report, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting elemental analyses of 15 drywall samples. The EPA has set a tentative date for completing its analyses of drywall samples by late August, and findings are anticipated by the end of September.

Finally, the CPSC status report confirmed that the agency has become aware of allegations of the use of radioactive phosphogypsum in some Chinese drywall. Because radioactive materials falls outside of its scope of expertise, the CPSC arranged for testing in the radiation labs of its partner agencies in the State of Florida and with the EPA, and provided samples to these laboratories for analysis. Results from these tests are expected in the coming days.

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