In TravCo Insurance Co. v. Ward, 736 S.E.2d 321 (Va. 2012) (No. 120347), the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that a pollution exclusion in a homeowners’ insurance policy precluded coverage for Chinese drywall.  While the court ruled that four separate exclusions applied, the ruling on the pollution exclusion was of most interest to policyholders.  The policy’s pollution exclusion defined pollutants as “any solid, liquid, gaseous or thermal irritant or contaminant, including smoke, vapor, soot, fumes, acids, alkalis, chemicals and waste.”   While the court acknowledged that the release of sulfuric gas from Chinese drywall was not traditional environmental pollution, the court declined to construe the pollution exclusion so narrowly.  Instead, relying on statements by the policyholder and his expert, the court found that sulfuric gas emanated from the Chinese drywall at issue and that the policyholder admitted such gas was toxic and caused skin rashes and other injuries.  In addition, the policyholder’s expert admitted that such sulfuric gas was emitted from the Chinese drywall.  Based largely then on the policyholder’s own admissions, the court applied the pollution exclusion.  While this was not a favorable ruling for policyholders, the more expansive view of the pollution exclusion taken by the court is not shared by all state courts, and in the absence of crucial admissions from the policyholder, application of the exclusion may well have been avoided in this case.