Toxic Chinese Drywall Lawsuits
Written by Faith Anderson on October 18, 2012
Problems Associated With Chinese Drywall
Drywall is constructed using a layer of gypsum plaster pressed between two sheets of paper, and the product is commonly used in the U.S. to build interior walls and ceilings in homes. In most cases, drywall, also known as wallboard, is manufactured in the United States, but Hurricane Katrina and the housing boom between 2004 and 2006 resulted in a shortage that led to many homeowners buying cheap drywall manufactured in China. Years later, many of these homeowners began to experience serious health issues believed to be related to the Chinese drywall, and thousands of homes constructed using the potentially defective drywall have since fallen into disrepair. The potentially toxic Chinese drywall at the center of the ongoing litigation is believed to have been used in the construction of about 100,000 homes in as many as 41 states throughout the country.
Sulfur in Drywall Causing Corrosion, Foul Smells in U.S. Homes
In 2008 and 2009, media outlets concentrated on the growing number of U.S. homeowners who were reporting foul smells and corrosion of wiring and appliances after having Chinese drywall installed in their homes back around 2003. Investigations launched by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found the problems to be related to high levels of sulfur compounds used in the manufacture of certain drywall products made in China. Many of the problems with Chinese drywall have since been confirmed using laboratory testing. In 2010, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the CPSC advised homeowners with Chinese drywall in their homes to remove the product and conduct an average of $100,000 worth of home repairs to fix the associated damage.
Chinese Drywall Lawsuits for Health Issues and Home Repairs
The majority of Chinese drywall complaints have been filed in Louisiana and Florida, but the CPSC reports that complaints have come from a total of 42 different states and two U.S. territories. Chinese drywall lawsuits have been filed against Taishan Gypsum, as well as subsidiaries in the United States, importers and distributors. Another company, called Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin (KPT), has already agreed to a class action settlement to cover the cost of homeowners’ repairs related to the company’s drywall, which is estimated to account for half of the toxic Chinese drywall imported into the United States over the past ten years. As a result of problems Americans are facing in recovering damages from the Taishan Gypsum Chinese drywall company though, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would require the Secretary of State to force companies doing business in the United States to submit to U.S. court jurisdiction.