Consumer Safety head leaves China without drywall resolution
Head of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Inez Tenenbaum left China Wednesday after meeting with her counterparts there about defective Chinese drywall, among other issues. Tenenbaum met with China's Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine to discuss consumer product safety. As of Jan. 7, there were 3,770 incidents reported of defective drywall, according to the CPSC. Florida leads the ranks with 2,137 cases, followed Louisiana with 704 cases and Alabama with 215 cases. Chinese drywall was a primary resource used to rebuild homes in the South after several Gulf hurricanes and during the housing boom. Spokeswoman for the commission, Patty Davis, said the agency has appealed for the Chinese drywall manufacturers whose products are involved in these cases to come to the table for discussion. "We want companies in the Chinese supply chain to recognize their responsibility to American consumers and do what is fair and just in each case if their products are involved," Davis said in an interview. Such a meeting, however, has not taken place. In November 2009, the CPSC released results from a study that showed "a strong association between homes with problem drywall and the levels of hydrogen sulfide in those homes and corrosion of metals in those homes." The study tested the air inside 51 homes and was done by Environmental Health & Engineering, an internationally known environmental testing firm based in Massachusetts. The homes were sampled between July and September of 2009. EH&E found that hydrogen sulfide gas causes copper and silver sulfide corrosion. "In ways still to be determined, hydrogen sulfide gas is being created in homes built with Chinese drywall," the report said. "While drywall-related corrosion is clearly evident, long term safety effects are still under investigation." The CPSC is running an ongoing investigation of imported drywall and has created a website for the public to keep up with the agency's findings. In October, plans were announced to remove Chinese drywall from up to 300 homes in a pilot program funded by the believed maker of defective Chinese drywall, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin. The remediation program is a partial settlement in a multi-state lawsuit involving Chinese drywall. In November, a Florida court ruling relieved some homebuilders of some liability in the ongoing dispute over Chinese drywall. Write to Christine Ricciardi. Follow her on Twitter @HWnewbieCR.