The AP reports:
A federal judge presiding over hundreds of lawsuits against Chinese drywall makers and installers said Thursday that he plans to hold the first trial in January for the cases, which claim the imported products emit sulfur, methane and other chemical compounds that have ruined homes and harmed residents’ health.
U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon told attorneys that he expects them to pick six plaintiffs whose cases could be tried in early 2010, with the first trial starting in January.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission, in its August drywall update, reported that new complaints continue to come in, and “the majority of the reports continue to be from Florida, Louisiana, and Virginia.” And:
To date, CPSC staff has confirmed 6,211,200 sheets of Chinese drywall were imported into the U.S., plus 28,778 sheets imported into Guam, Saipan, and American Samoa during 2006. The staff is continuing to verify more shipments.
Oh, and the whole notion that it’s as simple as phosphogypsum? Not so fast, a group of federal and state scientists suggest. Here’s what those scientists (from CPSC, EPA, CDC, as well as the health departments of Florida, Louisiana, and Virginia) said in an August memo after testing 21 drywall samples, from foreign and domestic sources, including from houses with pipes that had become corroded:
Based on the data from the two laboratories, the Technical Team concludes that there is no phosphogypsum contamination in the drywall samples tested. In particular, the levels of 226Ra found in these samples were generally more than a factor of 10 lower than those found in phosphogypsum (10 to 35 pCi/g), but comparable to levels found in other commonly used building materials including bricks and concrete.
The conclusions that can be reached are that there is no indication that these drywall samples contain phosphogypsum, there is no indication that imported drywall contains any more radioactive material than domestic sources, and drywall associated with these samples would not represent a significant source of radiation exposure.
But: “Results of these 21 drywall samples may not be representative of all domestic or all imported drywall.”