In the aftermath of hurricanes Charlie, Francis and Jeanne and Katrina, demand for building supplies soared between 2004-2007 compounded with the one of the largest building booms seen in decades, created an overwhelming demand for building materials domestic manufacturers were unable fulfil. As a result, drywall and other building supplies were imported from China.
Not just here in Florida, but in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi,and Virginia as well. Estimates range between 60,000-100,000 homes throughout the country with as many as 36,000 homes in Florida may have severe problems with the imported drywall.
Links between the drywall imported from China and sulfide gases emitting from them are suspected to be causing corrosion to electrical wiring, household appliances, air conditioning components and other metals found inside homes.
Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) have sponsored a bill S.739 called the "Dry Wall Safety Act" of 2009. This bill would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission & the EPA to work with Federal Testing Labs to determine if the gasses pose a hazard to homeowners. Of concern are the organic compounds and chemicals which appear to be emitting the gas and causing a corrosive effect. S.739 was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
It calls for a study to determine the composition of the organic materials, as well as any health or environmental impact that may be a result of exposure to these materials and proposes a interim ban on imported drywall containing five percent organic compounds while federal drywall safety standards can be established to protect consumers in the future.
The Second Bill (S.RES.91) is a Recall of Chinese manufacturered drywall based on the confirmation of the presence of sulfide gasses in homes built containing the drywall. The sponsors of the bill (Nelson and Landrieu) hope to help affected homeowners with the cost of replacements or repairs holding the manufacturers of the drywall responsible.
Federal Class Actions Lawsuits have already been filed against the manufacturer Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin and the company responsible for distribution in the United States. Also named in the law suit is Lennar Homes and Banner Supply company.
Governor Charlie Crist has requested that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for help in developing testing for homes affected by the tainted drywall. Rothchilt International Ltd Attorneys who filed one of the lawsuits believe that as many as 13 states may have received and used the drywall. When the Consumer Products Safety Commission finishes its investigation, this could end up being one of the largest product liability cases pertaining to home construction in history.
The Florida Association of Realtor (FAR) is implementing a "Chinese Drywall Addendum for Purchase" and will be modifying the Seller's Disclosures to include language specific to the disclosure of sellers knowledge of defective drywall. These defective materials do have the potential to materially effect the value of a property and must be disclosed by the home seller, Realtor or both to the public if they have knowledge of it. .
Home Buyers are encouraged to seek the services of State Licensed Home Inspectors when purchasing a home, in any event.