A Chinese drywall town hall meeting will be held this evening in Mandeville, Louisiana. State Senators Julie Quinn and A.G. Crowe will host the meeting, which is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. at Mandeville City Hall.
Louisiana is among the states hardest hit by the Chinese drywall crisis. According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), 167 homeowners there have filed complaints with the agency. However, it is likely that thousands of homes in the state contain the defective material. Many of the Chinese drywall homes in Louisiana were among those rebuilt following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
Senator Quinn told WWLTV.com that at tonight’s town hall, she will urge homeowners to contact other legislators and let them know how serious the Chinese drywall problem really is. The Senator said that current laws offer too little protection for homeowners.
‘I’m trying to educate the public and encourage them to shout to the Governor’s Office, to the fellow legislators and even to the federal government,” Quinn said. “Help us so we don’t lose our home.”
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. According to The Wall Street Journal, some 500 million pounds of Chinese drywall was imported to the U.S. during the housing boom. That means as many as 100,000 homes throughout the country could have been built with the material.
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 that permeates homes, and cause metals, including air conditioning coils and even jewelry, to corrode.
Thousands of homeowners have filed lawsuits over the defective wall board. Chinese drywall lawsuits from around the country have been consolidated in a Multidistrict Litigation that is currently underway in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. The first bellwether trials in that litigation are expected to begin in January.