Chinese drywall refers to drywall imported from China (from approximately 2001 to 2007) which
contains extraneous metals and minerals, such as sulfur, strontium and iron. Under certain
environmental conditions (typically warm, humid climates), the drywall will emit sulfur gasses. These
gasses create a noxious odor and corrode copper and other metal surfaces, which can damage one's
air conditioner, electrical wiring, copper plumbing, appliances and electronics. Chinese drywall can
also cause adverse health effects, which are primarily irritant and temporary in nature. Long term
health effects are unknown. Not all drywall manufactured in China is defective.
Does your home smell like rotten eggs or ammonia (sometimes a sweetish smell)? Is it more noticeable when
entering your home and then seems to dissipate? The level of odor varies greatly in each home as does each
person’s ability to detect the odor. Of course, the strength of the odor also depends on how much drywall was
used in the home. Significantly, some homeowners report no smell, but their home clearly has Chinese drywall.
In short, do not rely on your nose alone, particularly since many develop olfactory fatigue after being exposed to
One of the telltale signs is corrosion/pitting of the air conditioner evaporator coils (which are located inside the air
handler). Many owners are first advised of a freon leak, and as the corrosion progresses, evaporator coils
eventually need replacement. An examination of the coils typically (but not always) reveal a black sooty deposit,
which may also appear on the freon line. Chinese drywall also corrodes electrical wiring. After turning off the
power (please be careful as you could get shocked), check the electrical receptacles in your walls to see if the
ground wires are blackened. The wires in this photo have been corroded from Chinese drywall. Since many
homes have mixeddrywall (i.e., good and bad drywall), not all ground wires will show blackening. There are also
cases that are not clear cut so please consult a qualified inspector.
Signs of an electrical problem include a circuit breaker which frequently needs resetting without an apparent
cause (particularly a GFCI or AFCI); lights that flicker without any apparent cause; bright flashes or sparks
anywhere in your electrical system (this may indicate arcing conditions in the wiring); buzzing from electrical
systems, switch plates, dimmers and outlet covers that are discolored from overheating; and a smell from
overheating plastic. See Florida Department of Health Case Definition for Drywall Associated Corrosion in
What is the role of strontium? Strontium sulfide, a material that can emit corrosive gases, has been found in
levels exceeding 1200 parts per million in Chinese drywall. "[I]t is possible to misclassify homes because of
other possible sources of ... corrosion such as volatile sulfur compounds from sewer gas, well water, and outdoor
contaminants that may enter the home independent of the drywall in the home." Click here for Task Force report.
For these reasons, strontium content should not be used as the only identification of tainted drywall. Click here
COULD CHINESE DRYWALL BE IN MY HOME
|WELCOME TO CHINESEDRYWALL.COM
|The first website dedicated to educating the public about Chinese drywall
|IS CHINESE DRYWALL DANGEROUS?
The gasses emitted from Chinese drywall corrode copper and metal surfaces. Corrosion of electrical
wiring may hamper the effectiveness of smoke detectors, which presents a safety concern. Low level
arcing has also been observed in some homes with Chinese drywall, which could cause an electrical
fire. See CPSC Drywall Chamber Test Results. The CPSC now reports that there are no acute or long-
term electrical safety events. Click here.
Some disagree, particularly since there have been no long term studies. According to Lawrence Berkley
National Laboratories, Chinese drywall can emit hydrogen sulfide up to 100 times greater than non-
Chinese produced drywall. Hydrogen sulfide is a hazardous gas which, in high concentrations, can be
fatal. There is also a strong association between hydrogen sulfide and metal corrosion. See CPSC
list of drywall manufacturers whose drywall has been found to emit the high levels of hydrogen sulfide.
Analytical testing of Chinese drywall samples have also revealed strontium sulfide, although there
remains disagreement regarding whether strontium is a valid marker for Chinese drywall. See Public
Health Statement regarding Strontium; Statement Regarding Health Effects. See also, EPA Drywall
Sampling Analysis dated May 7, 2009).
According to Dr. Patricia Williams, a University of New Orleans toxicologist, highly toxic compounds
have been found in Chinese drywall and prolonged exposure to these compounds can cause serious
problems. Strontium sulfide may be dangerous to developing children; it affects bone growth. Chronic
exposure to these gases may affect the central nervous system (including visual and sensory changes),
cardiovascular system, eyes, kidneys, liver and skin. Infants, children, the elderly and infirm
(particularly those with heart and lung disease and diabetes) and pets may have an increased
vulnerability to these gases and the particulates that are released from the drywall. However, experts
To date, the Florida Department of Health has opined that the levels found in Chinese drywall are not
high enough to present “an imminent or chronic health hazard at this time.” Some of these findings
appear to be based upon industrial studies of workers who were exposed to reduced sulfur gases for 8
hours a day at levels much lower than those found in Chinese drywall.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF CHINESE DRYWALL?
of Health FAQs
CPSC RELEASES STUDY AND UPDATED GUIDELINES
The CPSC has released a study that found that microbiological activity was not causing the emission
of sulfur gas from the tainted drywall. Another study released included updated remediation
guidance based on studies on potential long term corrosion effects of problem drywall on select gas
components, fire sprinkler heads and smoke alarms.
The agencies continue to recommend replacing all problem drywall, along with smoke and carbon
monoxide alarms and all receptacles, switches, and circuit breakers, but not necessarily all electrical
wiring. See Amendments to the Virginia Building Code which differs in that it mandates removal of
non-defective drywall in any room which also contains defective drywall.
The CPSC and HUD acknowledge in a footnote that the "remediation guidance is not intended to
address any non-health and safety remediation requirements; nor does it address what, if any,
additional elements of a home may require remediation in order to accomplish the principles set forth
here. The Task Force recognizes that additional considerations for repair of economic damages have
been included in both court-ordered remediation plans and voluntary remediation plans agreed upon
by various parties, including those in the supply chain. This Remediation Guidance does not address
such economic considerations that lie outside the scope of health and safety. . ."
With respect to electrical wiring, Judge Fallon previously commented that there are practical reasons
for removing all wiring, including the inability to effectively clean wiring and the time/cost involved.
Further, snipping wires may violate local building codes if there is insufficient slack and the use of
junction boxes will increase the cost. On average, rewiring costs less than 5% of the total cost so the
savings are minimal.
Moreover, the electrical insulating and coating materials may also retain the sulfur odor, which in and
of itself, warrants removal. Judge Fallon stated at the March status conference that the evidence is
clear that the wire coating is not sufficient to keep the gases out and there is corrosion under the
coating. He found that all wiring should be removed and replaced. Notably, Knauf continues to
remove all drywall (defective and non-defective), as well as all wiring in homes as part of the Pilot
Hundreds of millions of sheets of Chinese drywall were imported from 2004 to 2006, but Chinese drywall has
been found in homes built or remodeled as early as 2001 and homes built as late as 2009. The presence of
Chinese drywall has been reported in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The total number of
affected properties (which includes residential and commercial) is unknown, although CPSC reports a total of
Chinese drywall is 1/2" in width. Chinese drywall can be found in homes with untainted drywall as well, which is
why homeowners should not assume that their home is fine if they find U.S. drywall.
COURT FINDS JURISDICTION OVER
TAISHAN. TAISHAN APPEALS. COURT OF
APPEALS HEARS ORAL AGUMENTS.
On June 29, 2012, a hearing was held on various motions filed by
Chinese-based Taishan entities wherein they argued that courts in
the US had no jurisdiction over them. U.S. District Judge Eldon
Fallon and Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Joseph Farina both ruled
against Taishan, finding that the exercise of jurisdiction over
Taishan was proper based on their contacts with the United States
including Taishan's sales agreements and use of English language
labels on their products. Taishan "knew its products would end up
in Virginia," Fallon said in the ruling. See Order, which includes an
in-depth history of the litigation. These rulings allow homeowners
to pursue claims against Taishan in the U.S. Taishan has appealed
On September 11, 2013, the Third District Court of Appeals upheld a
default judgment against Taishan in Lennar's $40 million claim
On October 9, 2013, oral arguments were held before the federal
appellate court in New Orleans in a similar case filed by
homeowners against Taishan in the Multi District Litigation ("MDL").
Taishan seeks to have claims against it dismissed and a default
judgment overturned. See story. The appellate court has not yet
COURT APPROVES SETTLEMENTS
On November 13, 2012, a Fairness Hearing was held in the MDL regarding five related settlements
which are collectively valued at approximately 1.1 billion dollars. Plaintiffs' and Defendants' attorneys
presented evidence and argued that the settlements are fair, reasonable and adequate, and that the
settlements were negotiated in good faith.
On February 7, 2013, Judge Fallon agreed and entered an Order (which contains an excellent history
of the litigation) granting final approval of the INEX, Banner Knauf, L&W and Global Settlements. See
list of Participating Defendants and Participating Insurers. Press Release.
See attached Banner and Global Settlement Allocation Plans. The amount of recovery per claimant
will be determined after claims have been submitted and evaluated. Details regarding the claims
process for the above settlements to follow when announced.
A claims process for the "Other Loss Fund" will also be established for homeowners with Knauf
drywall. The Other Loss Fund provides a mechanism for resolving very specific claims of economic
losses (such as foreclosures and short sales) and personal injuries. See Third Amended Knauf
PASSAGE OF DRYWALL SAFETY ACT
The bill does not set safety standards, but asks committee consisting of manufacturers and builders
and others to develop voluntary limits on sulfur content in drywall. Read more.
The claims deadline for all persons who intend to participate in
the Knauf, INEX, L&W, Global and Banner Settlements was on
October 25, 2013. The settlement administrator is in the
process of reviewing claims. See report.
MDL STATUS CONFERENCE
Date: December 19, 2013; Time: 10:00 a.m. EST
Call in number: (800) 700-7784; Enter access code: 307043.