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Chinese Drywall & Indoor Environmental Quality

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Published on May 28, 2014

Drywall from China was imported into the U.S. from 2006 to 2008 to address the shortage of construction materials created by the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons and the national demand for new home construction.

Beginning around 2008, people living in some homes built between 2001 and 2008 began reporting unusual health issues. People also reported corrosion of some metal components in their homes. The suspected culprit was sulfur compounds being released into the air from the drywall.

In response, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the lead federal agency for problem drywall, began investigating the problem in 2009 with the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR) and other agencies.

CPSC has received over 4000 reports from residents in 44 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico, who believe their health symptoms or the corrosion of certain metal components in their homes are related to problem drywall.

According to the ATSDR, exposure to sulfur compounds at the levels estimated from Chinese drywall manufactured in 2005 and 2006 may be associated with such health effects as:
• Headaches,
• Irritation of eyes, nose, and throat,
• Feeling tired, and
• Problems controlling respiratory conditions (like asthma).

In addition, the agency reports that odors associated with sulfur compounds emitted by problem drywall could disrupt daily activities and cause stress.

In 2014, the ATSDR released the report, "Health Consultation: Possible Health Implications from Exposure to Sulfur Gases Emitted from Chinese-Manufactured Drywall." It describes the laboratory tests and modeling researchers used to estimate levels of sulfur compounds in indoor air of homes built with problem drywall, including drywall imported from China in 2005 and 2006.

These are just a few things to know about Chinese drywall and indoor environmental quality concerns. To learn more about this or other health & safety, environmental or indoor air quality issues, please visit the websites shown in the video.

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