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Tests: Chinese drywall not tied to health issues

By Staff | Oct 30, 2009

Tests conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission have found no solid connection between health concerns and the presence of Chinese drywall in homes.
According to a report released Thursday, the initial studies are merely the “first sets of data” that explain the difference between Chinese and non-Chinese drywall, and that “more remains to be learned.”
CPSC officials expect to release more information in November.
So far the agency has conducted three, separate sets of tests on the suspect drywall.
The tests included:
n Elemental and chemical testing, which showed the presence of elemental sulfur in Chinese but not non-Chinese drywall. Testing also showed no presence of radiation in the suspect drywall.
n Chamber studies, which found that Chinese drywall emits volatile sulfur compounds at a higher rate than non-Chinese drywall.
n Indoor air studies, which led to the preliminary finding of “detectable” concentrations of acetaldehyde and formaldehyde. The compounds were found in tests conducted in 10 homes in Florida and Louisiana, and in Chinese and non-Chinese drywall.
Even with the results, the CPSC has not reached a final decision on whether the drywall is a health risk to homeowners.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who started his fight against Chinese drywall in April, said the preliminary tests are inconclusive. Nelson, D-Orlando, also was critical of the CPSC and, in particular, its chairwoman, Nancy Nord.
“I simply don’t think the investigation is happening fast enough,” he said Thursday via a prepared statement, citing his frustration and impatience
Nelson toured the Coral Lakes home of Sonny and Joyce Dowdy in April to get a firsthand look at the effects of Chinese drywall.
Earlier this month Nelson, along with senators from Louisiana and Virginia, wrote a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency asking it to provide rental assistance to people who were forced from their home due to Chinese drywall, or are still living in it.
November’s test results from the CPSC will show the relationship between corrosion of metal components in homes with Chinese drywall, as well as an analysis of potential electrical and fire safety issues related to corrosion.
According to Thursday’s report, once all the tests have been completed, they will “collectively help to develop a final standard federal and state protocol for testing homes and to identify a nexus between the presence of Chinese drywall and the reported health and corrosive issues.”
State Rep. Gary Aubuchon, R-Cape Coral, and Cape Coral Construction Industry Association Executive Director Patti Schnell did not return calls seeking comment Thursday.
To view the report or get other information from the CPSC regarding Chinese drywall, visit: http://www.cpsc.gov/info/drywall/index.html.