How to Tell if You Have Toxic Drywall
There are some telltale signs that your home's walls may be tainted from toxic Chinese drywall. The first giveaway is the smell of sulfur, often likened to rotten eggs. Some homeowners began to notice that their home air-conditioning systems were failing early and often. This is due to corrosion on copper wiring caused by the drywall. If you've noticed that your HVAC system has failed and the copper wires are now coated in black residue, you might have problems. Other appliances have been affected as well. If your stove and oven heating elements and refrigerator coils have been failing, it's likely due to the bad drywall. These issues are only red flags if your home was built or remodeled between 2005 and 2008, and mainly in the coastal southern United States, although smaller numbers of houses are suspected to be affected in up to 41 states.
Some other warning signs in your home include:
- Failure of information displays on TVs, DVD players, radios and microwaves
- Light bulbs burning out at a faster rate
- Silver jewelry and utensils may be tarnished
- Failure of satellite TV receivers
These are just warning signs directly related to the structure of your home. There are also health effects to look out for. If you're living in a high-risk house and you've noticed respiratory issues, nose bleeds, rashes, headaches, coughing and sinus problems, you could be suffering from issues tied to toxic drywall. No formal health studies have been conducted as of May 2009, and the Knauf company has denied that the off-gassing from their drywall is any real cause of health concern. But if the drywall is tarnishing silver and corroding copper wiring, it can't be a coincidence that these same homeowners have suffering health.
There have been no confirmed deaths from families living in homes with the bad drywall, but Florida House Representative Wexler has received information about children that have required hospital stays and surgery due to respiratory complications believed to have resulted from the tainted gypsum. Some families have had to move out of their homes, and builders have already begun stripping houses down to the frame and replacing the drywall, which is the only solution. Some fear that even that won't completely rid the homes of the sulfur smell, which is thought to be seeping into the wood itself.
If you suspect that your home has toxic drywall, you can call the Homeowners Consumer Center at 866-714-6466 or contact them at their Web site -- http://homeownersconsumercenter.com.
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More Great Links
- Time Magazine
- The Herald Tribune
- Alonso, Parker. "Chinese Dry Wall Plaguing Florida Homeowners." yourlawyer.com, January 12, 2009. http://www.yourlawyer.com/articles/read/15832
- "Americas Watchdog Discovers Toxic Chinese Drywall In Texas: It May Be As Bad As Florida And This Is About To Turn Into A National Disaster." tradingmarket.com, April 6, 2009. http://www.tradingmarkets.com/.site/news/Stock%20News/2258015/
- "Analytical Laboratory Releases Testing Programs to Identify Chinese Drywall Contamination." webwire.com, May 8, 2009. http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=94538
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- Miles, Wanda. "Toxic Chinese Drywall Sheetrock About to Become Part of a National Investigation." nola.com, March 18, 2009. http://blog.nola.com/kenner/2009/03/toxic_chinese_drywall_sheetroc.html
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