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Seeking Answers to Drywall Problem, Senator Visits China

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A U.S. Senator was in China last week seeking more cooperation in solving the massive   defective Chinese drywall problem.  According to a press release from his office, Senator Bill Nelson’s (D-FL)  China stop was part of a twelve-day trip he took as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

In February, Nelson called on the CPSC for an investigation of problems in homes constructed with the imported drywall, and for an interim ban on the product.  He and Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, then filed legislation aimed at initiating a recall of defective Chinese drywall, as well as a ban on the material.

During meetings in Shanghai last week , Nelson told Chinese officials that they need to step up their cooperation with the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) and help U.S. homeowners hurt by the defective drywall.   “I told them that we wouldn’t back down.  A product from their country is damaging the homes and lives of too many people for them not to take this seriously,” Nelson said in the statement.

In the U.S., consumers in 24 states have filed a total of 1046 Chinese drywall complaints with the CPSC. Most complaints have come from Florida (807) and Louisiana (139). Other states with Chinese drywall reports include: Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The Chinese drywall disaster is just the latest scandal involving imports from that country.  In 2008, nearly 80% of all product recalls in the U.S. involved imports from China.  Many Chinese products have been found to have been made with toxic materials, such as lead paint, and even counterfeit ingredients.   In the past, dangerous toys, toxic foods and even tainted heparin have been among the scores of Chinese products that have put U.S. consumers at risk.

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