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CPSC Head Asks China For Cooperation in Drywall Crisis

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The head of the Consumer Products Safety Commission has appealed to China to do “what is fair and just” to help U.S. homeowners dealing with defective Chinese drywall.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Inez Tenenbaum made the plea while attending the U.S.-China product safety summit that was held in Beijing beginning Thursday. During the summit, Tenenbaum and her counterpart with the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine signed a joint statement in which the two sides agreed to continue to cooperate in their investigations into the drywall problems.

As we’ve reported previously, before the summit, Tenenbaum had said she wanted to discuss whether the Chinese firms were willing to help pay for the drywall-related damage. But according to the Journal, at the summit’s end, Tenenbaum appeared to be warning that a resolution would take time.  She promised that the U.S. and China would  continue to cooperate “to complete the scientific examination, then trace it up the supply chain and then match it with individual homeowners….But there’s a tremendous amount of work to be done before any of that occurs.”

The CPSC has received over 1,700 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.

Next week, the CPSC will release two reports detailing the initial results of its tests on Chinese- and American-made drywall, with another report to follow next month, the Journal said.  Previous tests of Chinese drywall by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have found sulfur and two organic compounds associated with acrylic paint — compounds not found in samples of American-made drywall.

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