CPSC Releases Three Draft Reports on Drywall

Ben Somberg

Oct. 29, 2009

Today the Consumer Product Safety Comission released three draft reports on its findings so far regarding contaminated Chinese drywall.

Here's how the Sarasota Herald-Tribune puts the development:

In what is sure to inflame lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the federal government issued a report on Thursday about Chinese drywall that stopped short of linking the material to health problems, foul smells or corrosion reported by homeowners.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and others have been analyzing the drywall and said they need more time to complete that work.

Explains CPSC's email update:

Basically, the combined federal task force investigating the issue has found elevated levels of two elements in some Chinese-made drywall: sulfur and strontium. We are conducting additional scientific tests to find the connection between these elevated levels and any reported health symptoms or corrosion effects. The results of these additional tests will be released in November.

The investigation of the drywall itself also found that the Chinese-made drywall emits elevated levels of sulfur compounds. Current testing is looking for the specific chemical compounds and any connection to health and corrosion effects.

When investigators tested homes, some findings surprised them. Researchers were looking for hydrogen sulfide, carbon disulfide and carbonyl sulfide, which have been suspected of being related to the contaminated drywall due to reports of "rotten egg" smells and sulfur-like corrosion of copper and other metals in the homes. These gasses were only found occasionally when outdoor air levels were elevated as well.

The early sample study of homes found levels of two known irritants: acetaldehyde and formaldehyde. But the levels were the same for both homes with Chinese and non-Chinese drywall and were not unusual for new homes. Levels were lower when home air conditioning was in use.

See more from AP, Bloomberg.

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