Guidelines for Identifying Defective Chinese Drywall Released

Homeowners have been given some guidance on determining if their home has a Chinese drywall problem. The Chinese drywall guidelines were issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

According to the CPSC, the two-step guidance requires a visual inspection that must show blackening of copper electrical wiring and/or air conditioning evaporator coils. New drywall must have been installed in the property (for new construction or renovations) between 2001 and 2008.

If this criteria is met, homeowners should obtain additional corroborating evidence of problem drywall, since the CPSC says it is possible that corrosion of metal in homes can occur for other reasons. For example, homes with new drywall installed between 2005 and 2008 must meet at least two additional criteria related to:

• the chemical analysis of metal corrosion in the home;
• elemental markers in the drywall;
• markings on the drywall indicating it was made in China;
• or specific chemical emissions from the drywall.

Homes with new drywall installed between 2001 and 2004 must meet a total of at least four of those criteria. According to the CPSC, collecting evidence of these corroborating conditions may require professional assistance and analysis.

Homeowners who want to have their home tested should look for a home inspection firm, an environmental consultant or home forensic inspection firm to do the work, and should make sure that the consultants are qualified to do the work, the CPSC said.

The full guidance is available on the here.

Since late 2008, the CPSC has received about 2,810 reports from residents in 36 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. These 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 also suffered eye, respiratory and sinus problems that may be linked to the gases.

The drywall problems have forced many people out of their homes, and some families are dealing with the heavy financial burden of paying both rent and mortgage payments. Those unable to afford additional rent have no choice but to stay in their potentially hazardous homes. Homeowners insurance does not cover damage from Chinese drywall, and builders have estimated that remediating a home with Chinese drywall could cost as much as $100,000.

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