The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently recommended that consumers whose homes were built using certain Chinese-made drywall have their homes gutted as a safety precaution. This recommendation coincides with a recent court decision in which the court found that the scientific, economic, and practical concerns involved dictated that affected homeowners remove all the drywall in their homes. Additionally, due to the corrosive effect the Chinese drywall has on wire, smoke detectors, and other home safety equipment, it also was recommended that homeowners inspect and/or replace these items.
The problematic drywall emits hydrogen sulfide at rates reported to be 100 times greater than normal drywall. Hydrogen sulfide causes corrosion of metals, foul smells, and is an irritant to humans. Homeowners have even reported jewelry corrosion. It is believed that more than 20,000 homes nationwide may have been built using Chinese drywall, as a result of supply shortages arising from massive rebuilding after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the housing boom in the mid-2000’s.
The CPSC and HUD’s announcement is further bad news for property insurers already beleaguered by the mass of litigation that has arisen from the problematic drywall.