The United States is serious about China taking some responsibility for the drywall problems that homeowners in Florida and elsewhere are facing. That was the message that Florida Sen. Bill Nelson brought to China in a recent trip there to determine the level of cooperation forthcoming from the country.
His trip was followed by a delegation from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), investigating hundreds of complaints from homeowners about the defective high-sulfur content drywall that is emitting a rotten-egg smell, making them sick, and corroding electrical wiring, metal plumbing components, HVAC systems, and appliances.
Sen. Nelson says he plans to make sure that the drywall issue is on the agenda when Chinese President Hu Jintao meets with President Obama this fall.
So far we know from the Environmental Protection Agency that the Chinese-made wallboard contains strontium ten times the level as American drywall and sulfur compounds as well as organic compounds that are generally found in acrylic paint. The wallboard was imported from China when the U.S. had a shortage after hurricanes from 2004 to 2006.
The CPSC says it has more than 850 reports of Chinese drywall problems, now including two new states, Pennsylvania and South Carolina. In all, 23 states are involved with Florida (658) and Louisiana (105) particularly hard hit. Many homeowners have decided to vacate their homes rather than live in what may be a dangerous environment from these product defects in Florida. Some folks report headaches, sinus and respiratory ailments, eye and skin irritations.
In some cases, builders want homeowners to sign remediation agreements that do not benefit the homeowner. These agreements, by some unscrupulous builders, promise the home will be repaired and in many cases they are not. Homeowners should not sign anything, with a builder who is under the gun to fix this massive problem, without a lawyer looking over the fine print. You may be signing away your legal rights and letting the builder permanently off the hook.
For more information regarding product liability, contact Farah and Farah’s experienced Florida product liability attorneys today.