Victims of Chinese Drywall Ask Washington for Help After Losing Their Health and Homes
A group of about 40 homeowners that identify themselves as Victims of Chinese Drywall (VCDW) visited Capitol Hill on Monday to ask for money to fix their toxic homes, help with mortgage payments, and move forward with their lives.
Between 2004 and 2008, toxic drywall was imported from China and installed into homes. Before long, homeowners began to feel ill in their brand new homes, and in 2009 were forced to abandon their residences in order to save their lives.
We spoke with one of these homeowners, Colleen Stephens, who was driven out of her new home due to sickness.
Stephens says she was at the point where she could barely move, and she suffered from head pains and swelling. She and her daughter temporarily moved away from the toxins and in with a friend and are currently looking for a smaller residence in which to live. Another victim joining Stephens on the group's D.C. visit says she needs help with her mortgage and getting out of her home; she also has a three-year-old boy.
Stephens says, "This has been a horrendous burden, we left everything behind."
She also told us that she knows of over 1,000 cases in which people were forced to flee their homes due to sickness from toxic drywall. However, unlike victims of the BP oil spill, the U.S. government has been less than responsive to the needs of these displaced families, and has failed to hold any Chinese manufacturers accountable for their toxic imports.
When the VCDW visited the Hill and the CSPC, they were met with disappointing and discouraging responses to their pleas. The CSPC claimed that they are working on getting scientific evidence to hold Chinese manufacturers accountable, but Stephens and her fellow victims believe that the loss of their health, homes, and, in some cases, life savings, provide enough evidence.
Stephens can't help but wonder about future product safety catastrophes, asking, "If we don't do something about this, what's going to be next?"
"We've been out for 20 months," she says.
That's 20 months too long.
Read our latest blog post on toxic Chinese drywall.
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