May 6, 2014 — After a four-year investigation by the federal government, owners of homes built with toxic Chinese drywall finally have confirmation of what they have known for years: headaches, fatigue, respiratory problems, and irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat are all potential health risks.
Those conclusions published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on May 2. The investigation began in early 2009 with the cooperation of several federal health agencies.
Beginning around 2008, residents of homes with Chinese drywall reported health problems that disappeared when they left their home and reappeared when they returned. Some reported strong sulfur smell and saw premature corrosion of metal components in their homes, including air conditioner coils and wiring behind electrical outlets.
Chinese drywall was imported into the United States in response to a boom in construction in the early 2000s and rebuilding after the record-breaking 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. Many owners of homes built in Florida in 2006 and 2007 have reported health problems.
For homes built with Chinese drywall manufactured between 2005 and 2006, hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide were a “public health concern.” The investigators concluded:
“Exposure to the estimated contaminant concentrations could diminish a resident’s quality of life by triggering irritant (eye, nose, and throat) and physical (respiratory, gastrointestinal) symptoms, leading to negative mood states, and altering daily activities.”
An estimated 11,0000 new homes were constructed with the drywall, according to a 2012 report by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The CDC has also provided a guide to identify homes built with problem drywall. The drywall was installed between 2001 and 2009 and a visual inspection must show blackening of copper electrical wiring and/or air conditioning evaporator coils. You may need outside lab testing to check for elemental sulfur in the drywall, gas emissions, and more.