There is a lot of evidence that Chinese drywall can cause serious environmental and health problems. Recent reports suggest that some American-made or domestic drywall also poses the same risks. However, unlike with Chinese drywall, scientists are still trying to determine whether domestic drywall has deleterious effects on health and property.
What are the purported problems with domestic drywall?
There are reports out of the southeastern states that indicate a potentially growing problem with domestic drywall. There are many Florida homes built between 2005 and 2008 that contain potentially corrosive domestic drywall. It seems to corrode plumbing fixtures, copper wiring, appliances and air condition units. Some homeowners have reported smoke alarm malfunction, tarnishing of silverware and pitted metal surfaces.
Moreover, exposure to domestic drywall may cause health problems for homeowners. Such problems include:
- Labored breathing
- Nose bleeds
- Liver and kidney disease
- Light headedness
- Tumors and cysts
What might be causing domestic drywall to be a risk to property and health?
Some independent laboratory reports suggest that high levels of sulfide gas are coming out of the domestic drywall in homes. This “off-gassing” phenomenon may be connected to the presence of synthetic gypsum. This is a byproduct of the scrubbing process that removes sulfur dioxide from the emissions of coal-fired plants. Off-gassing of sulfide gas is more prevalent in homes built in the southeast possibly because of the high humidity there.
Another theory is that domestic drywall contains a radioactive material called phosphogypsum. This is a byproduct of phosphate. Other possible reasons are that domestic drywall companies are selling defective Chinese drywall under a “Made in America” label or making domestic drywall with scrap from recycled Chinese drywall.
What can people do to determine whether they have defective domestic drywall in their homes?
While people should consult with a construction defect attorney as soon as possible, they should contact their homeowners’ insurance company first to find out whether their policy covers defective drywall problems. Unfortunately, there is no coverage most of time, but it never hurts to check.
Second, homeowners should bring in a properly qualified inspector who can determine what kind of drywall they have and whether it is dangerous. The inspector should take off all of the electrical outlets and look behind them. He or she should examine the air conditioning units, take swabs of the coils and send them to a laboratory for testing. The inspector should also have samples of the drywall tested.
What should people look for in an attorney to handle their defective drywall claims?
It is important that people retain an experienced attorney who has litigation experience and the financial resources to hire credible experts and testing laboratories. Unlike Chinese drywall, a lot of investigation must still be done to determine whether domestic drywall is also a home contaminant. Consequently, people should make sure they retain an attorney who is dedicated to proving their domestic drywall claims.