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CPSC Head Visits China Next Week, Will Bring Up Defective Drywall

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The head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)  said she will address the Chinese drywall issue when she visits China next week  the biennial U.S.-China consumer product safety summit.

According to The Wall Street Journal, consulting firm Towers Perrin estimates the tab for drywall damage could range from $15 billion to $25 billion.  CPSC head Inez Tenenbaum told the Journal that next week, she will ask Chinese officials if they are prepared to participate in providing funds for drywall homes, and what it would take for that to occur.  Tenenbaum also promised to tell Chinese authorities that the U.S. would strictly enforce its new laws on products ranging from toys and all-terrain vehicles to electrical products. She said she also wanted to create a partnership with China that includes educating its government and manufacturers about U.S. standards.

According to the Journal, the Chinese have not indicated one way or another whether they would be willing to foot any of the bill for Chinese Drywall damage.  Calls  to the Chinese Embassy seeking comment were not returned, the Journal said.The CPSC has received over 1,500 complaints regarding Chinese drywall from homeowners across the country. Gases emitted from Chinese drywall are being blamed for significant property damage, including damage to HVAC systems, smoke detectors, electrical wiring, metal plumbing components, and other household appliances. These gases also produce a sulfurous odor that permeates homes, and cause metals, including air conditioning coils and even jewelry, to corrode. People living with Chinese drywall have also suffered eye, respiratory and sinus problems that may be linked to the gases.

The Chinese drywall disaster is just the latest scandal involving imports from that country.  In 2008, nearly 80 percent of all product recalls in the U.S. involved imports from China.  Products like dog food, baby formula, toys with lead paint and even pharmaceuticals like heparin have been found to have been made with toxic materials and other counterfeit ingredients putting U.S. consumers at risk.

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