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Feds to Look at Virginia’s Chinese Drywall Problems

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The search for answers to the growing Chinese drywall problem will soon be moving to Virginia.    According to WVEC.com, the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is expected to be in the state in “a week or so” to test homes with Chinese drywall.  The CPSC has already been testing Chinese drywall homes in Florida.

At a Senate hearing last week, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) voiced concerns that the Chinese drywall problem could turn out to be much worse than first thought.  “I fear that we’re just at the tip of an iceberg of what could be a… national disaster, that is both a health care disaster and for many families is going to be a financial disaster,”  Warner said.

Though not a member of the subcommittee that convened the hearing, he was permitted to ask questions.  According to hamptonroads.com, the Senator urged officials to publish information for homeowners on how to deal with the drywall while legal and regulatory agencies work on a resolution. Warner also asked that the CPSC send a team to his state to investigate the extent of the drywall problem there.

Virginia is just one of several states where homeowners have complained about Chinese drywall that fills homes with a putrid, “rotten-eggs” odor, causes metals to corrode, and  leads to sinus and respiratory problems in people living with the material.  At last weeks hearing, CPSC  toxicologist Lori Saltzman said that people living with the Chinese drywall in  16 states where problems had been reported did have common health symptoms. She also said that some CPSC investigators had experienced similar symptoms when visiting affected homes in Florida.

Several days before the Senate hearing, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released results of tests it conducted that compared Chinese drywall to American-made material. The tests found sulfur and two organic compounds associated with acrylic paint in the Chinese drywall that were not present in the American wallboard. The agency said more testing is needed to determine if any of the compounds found in the Chinese drywall are responsible for problems reported by homeowners.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, the U.S. imported roughly 309 million square feet of drywall from China during the housing boom from 2004 to 2007.

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