In the past couple of weeks, we have had a deluge of calls wanting to know about Chinese drywall. This is a product that was produced primarily in China, but links to other areas have been alleged. All drywall is made of gypsum with fly ash. Fly ash is the residue left from burning coal at power plants. The Chinese used fly ash that was not properly refined and scrubbed. As a result the fly ash used by the Chinese has sulfur ash and other sulfur compounds. The sulfur combined with the high humidity in SW Florida to form a variety of toxic compounds that are causing the problem. 500 million square feet of this drywall was imported to the U.S. between 2004 and 2007, enough to have been used in 60,000 homes throughout the US. This type of drywall emits an odor similar to burnt matches or rotten eggs. According to some industrial hygienists, this may lead to health risks. If you have prolonged exposure, the olfactory senses become desensitized, and you may not even notice the odor. The things to look for in your home are dark gray or black residue on copper pipes, copper air conditioning coils, and copper wiring. Other metals have been found to pit and turn black. The following photos are from a house that is only 2 years old. These show the typical signs of toxic drywall.
Copper Pipes with black corrosion
A/C coils corroding
For an additional fee we perform visual Chinese Drywall Inspections with our home inspections. Individual Chinese Drywall inspections are available. Testing is available for an additional fee but requires removal of a 2” x 2” piece of sheet rock per test.