Chinese Drywall: Remediation Guidance

Late last week the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recommended homeowners remove all possible problem Chinese drywall from their homes because of health and safety concerns related to emissions of hydrogen sulfide from the material. They also released new information showing that the top 10 reactive sulfur-emitting drywall samples were all produced in China. Certain Chinese samples had emission rates of hydrogen sulfide 100 times greater than non-Chinese drywall samples, the agencies said. A full text of the CPSC and HUD interim remediation guidance is available here. An April 3 Wall Street Journal article notes that the announcement could set the stage for Congress to compensate homeowners who face the expense of gutting their homes and replacing the drywall. However, Florida Senator Bill Nelson was quoted in the article saying: “Now the question is: who pays for it? The way I see it, homeowners didn’t cause this. The manufacturers in China did. That’s why we’ve got to go after the Chinese government now.† Just a few months ago Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty made clear that in his opinion insurers have no obligation to cover defective Chinese drywall because it is not a covered peril. It’s interesting to note that Florida accounts for more than 90 percent of the more than 3,000 incident reports related to drywall that have been received by the CPSC to-date. Check out I.I.I. background information on Chinese Drywall.

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