Florida Senator Frustrated By Chinese Drywall Crisis

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Florida senator, David Aronberg, D-Greenacres,  is tired of waiting for the state’s governor and federal government to do something about the Chinese drywall crisis that is plaguing thousands of Florida homeowners, reports Bradendton.com.  He wants action from the state legislature.

More than 2,700 Chinese drywall complaints have been lodged with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), 1,615  from Florida alone.

The Chinese drywall nightmare began with the U.S. housing boom between 1999 and 2007.  America could not produce enough plasterboard to meet the high demand. Devastating Charley, the 2004 Florida hurricane and 2005 hurricane Katrina, which ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, further exacerbated the need for drywall.

Approximately 500 million pounds of Chinese drywall was imported to the U.S. during the housing boom, according to an earlier Wall Street Journal report.  That means at least 100,000 homes throughout the country could have been built with defective material.

Last summer, Environmental Protection Agency tests revealed that Chinese-manufactured drywall contained elevated levels of strontium sulfide and also, several organic compounds associated with acrylic paint.  These were not present in  U.S.-made drywall samples. Other CPSC tests of 51 homes, in a November report, confirmed that hydrogen sulfide is the main component that causes copper and silver sulfide corrosion found in homes built with Chinese drywall. Federal investigators have yet to determine health risk ramifications from exposure to drywall gases.

The Florida  state department of health began its Chinese drywall investigation in late 2008.  The CPSC followed in 2009, with a multi-agency investigation.  However,  homeowners have received little assistance and many have been forced to vacate their dream home and face the possibility of financial ruin since tainted drywall makes their home’s property value rather worthless. It is estimated that remediating a home with Chinese drywall could cost as much as $100,000.

According to Bradenton.com, Aronberg had previously asked Florida Governor Charlie Crist to form a drywall task force. Because that has not happened, Aronberg has now introduced several bills in the Florida Senate directed at helping the state’s Chinese drywall homeowners. One bill wants the formation of a 19-member task force, which would include a health official, a homeowner with Chinese drywall, a physician, an attorney, a consumer advocate and a representative from the drywall industry. The group would, among other things, study health risks, and set remediation standards.  Also, the bill would direct the Florida Building Commission to limit sulfur and strontium amounts within drywall and exclude product that exceeds those limits.

Two additional Aronberg bills would mandate the state to establish licensing standards for those remediating Chinese drywall and would require minimum inspections for metal corrosion in homes with Chinese drywall, Bradenton.com said.