The defective Chinese-made drywall that started making the news in 2009 releases enough corrosive hydrogen sulfide gas to cause negative health effects in residents of houses built with the material, according to a federal government report released on May 2. The report, "Health Consultation: Possible Health Implications from Exposure to Sulfur Gases Emitted from Chinese-Manufactured Drywall," is posted at the website of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Thousands of new homes were built using the defective material during the boom years of construction of the mid-2000s. Florida and Louisiana saw the most widespread use of Chinese drywall, but many homes in Virginia and elsewhere were also built with the problem product. Chinese drywall emits corrosive gases that are known to damage or destroy air conditioning coils and electronic circuits, but health risks from the drywall emissions have been largely a matter of speculation.
The latest report, however, lends credence to homeowner complaints of sore throats, burning eyes, runny noses, and coughing associated with exposure to the bad board. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune has the story ( "CDC links Chinese drywall to health problems," by Michael Pollick). Reports the paper: "The lab results on Chinese drywall samples 'suggest that the symptoms people have reported over time are consistent with those levels of exposure and also by the way are consistent with corrosion findings in these homes,' said Dr. Vikas Kapil, chief medical officer at the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which issued the report."
One homeowner whose house was damaged by the drywall finds the report underwhelming, reports the Virginian-Pilot (see: CDC links Chinese drywall to health problems," by Sarah Kleiner Varble). "'We already knew' the wallboard caused headaches, fatigue, respiratory problems and eye, nose and throat irritation, said Newport News resident Eric Bailey, when told about the findings," the paper reports. 'When you have a small group of people and everybody's complaining they're tired all the time and they have headaches, when you have 30 neighbors around you saying the same thing, it doesn't take a rocket scientist or a million-dollar government study to figure it out," Bailey said.