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Health Concerns of Toxic Chinese Drywall

There have been a number of news articles recently reporting cases of Toxic Chinese Drywall. "Toxic" may be a bit of a media overstatement, but several independent laboratories have confirmed the presence of harmful fumes emanating from Chinese-made drywall. In the right environment, these fumes can damage property and may cause health problems.

Studies show that Chinese drywall has the potential to off-gas various fumes and vapors - at least some of which are sulfur-based. In a closed environment, which many homes have today, these gases accumulate and concentrate in the indoor atmosphere. When these fumes come in contact with moisture on sweating plumbing pipes or air conditioning coils, a sulfur compound is formed that includes sulfuric acid. This compound corrodes the coils, turning them black, and eventually causing damage. It also attacks the solder joints of copper plumbing, copper wiring, and other metal in the home. Many homes have had air conditioning systems repaired or replaced because of accumulated corrosive damage to those systems.

In addition, the potential for harm to people and animals is also a real concern. Homeowners have reported symptoms, such as nosebleeds, itchy eyes, and respiratory problems. Health concerns increase for those who may be particularly susceptible, such as the very young, the very old, those already ill, and persons using immunosuppressant drugs.

Investigation shows that Toxic Chinese Drywall is a wide-scale problem. Importation dates are between 2000 and 2007, but installation of these materials could have occurred after that time. Chinese drywall has been used throughout the states of California, Florida, Georgia, the Gulf States region, the Northeast, the Southwest, and many other areas of the United States. Hundreds of thousands of homes may be affected.

Indications of the presence of Chinese drywall in a home include:

  • Sulfur odors, usually associated with a rotten
    egg smell

  • Metal in the home that is turning black or being
    pitted, with no other obvious cause, such as
    pipes, wiring, light fixtures, belt buckles,
    jewelry, mirrors, picture frames, etc.

If a home was built or remodeled after 2000 and the above indicators are present, then there is likelihood Chinese drywall is in the home. A homeowner should contact a qualified professional with indoor air quality or air testing credentials. Referral lists are available online at sites such as www.iaqa.org. Certified professionals have the expertise and the equipment to collect and analyze samples to measure the presence and the concentration level of toxic compounds. Proper identification is a key factor to determine potential property damage and health concerns

If someone has health questions or problems related to Toxic Chinese Drywall, they should contact their healthcare provider for evaluation and assistance.

If restoration work is required, it is important to call a professional mitigation/restoration company such as PuroClean. PuroClean professionals are certified and fully trained. They will adhere to all safety requirements when working around contaminated materials. They will ensure that there is no cross-contamination of these toxic materials or fumes inside of the structure, and that all removed materials and cleaning solutions are disposed of in the proper manner, as required by regulations.

Regardless of the circumstances - dealing with Toxic Chinese Drywall, responding to water damage, fire/smoke damage, or mold damage - call PuroClean Home Rescue, the Paramedics of Property Damage™. For all property damage situations, these professionals are standing by. They will mitigate the loss to prevent further damage and will then provide restoration services to return the property to a pre-loss condition as quickly as possible. All PuroClean offices have well-trained professional technicians who provide the latest state-of-the-science services to all property damaged from water, fire, smoke, mold, and other disasters.