Toxic Chinese Drywall Task Force Ignores the Obvious in Early Report

Posted by admin on 11/04/2009

no_chinese_drywall Last week a task force led by the U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commission (CPSC) failed to “find” a conclusive link between toxic Chinese drywall and corrosion, toxic fumes, and health problems found in thousands of homes containing the product in its preliminary report on the problem.    Oh, come on.     CPSC, in coordination with other federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, Health and Human Services and the state health departments of Florida, Louisiana and Virginia found contaminants in the Chinese drywall, but would not yet make a connection between the toxins and corrosion and health problems.    The task force tested the drywall three ways:  chemical tests using cut-outs of the drywall, chamber studies that collected data on airborne particulates, and limited testing inside ten toxic drywall homes.   The chemical test and chamber studies both compared Chinese drywall with Made In America drywall and found higher levels of sulfur and strontium as well as high emissions of toxic sulfur gasses in the Chinese product.    The home study – of only ten homes – found “limited” amounts of chemicals and refused to even put forth speculation that the toxins and gases found in drywall in lab settings might also be found in the homes in which said drywall was installed.    Three and a half million taxpayer dollars later, this apparently was too much of a leap for the task force to make.    Task force members also testified on the report in the Senate last week.  Its lack of conclusion left Senator Bill Nelson of Florida – who has advocated tirelessly on behalf of thousands of homeowners in his state affected by the noxious Chinese drywall – stunned.  Clearly able to follow the bouncing ball, Senator Nelson noted “this is not an answer for the people who can’t live in their homes.”   Another more compressive report is due from the CPSC in late November and then again in June 2010.  The task force will include more (abandoned) homes and conduct interviews with hundreds of residents who have been forced out of their homes by the toxic drywall.    During the Senate hearing, Michael McGeehin, a director at the CDC stated, “right now we do not see levels that are normally associated with a health risk.”  This, after complaining that his eyes burned and his throat hurt after touring a toxic drywall house.   Let’s recap:  toxins were found in the drywall, toxic gasses were found emitting from the drywall, but it can’t be determined that the corrosion and health problems came from the same drywall after installtion.    Is it possible that there is political component to this?  In Washington, there always is.    President Obama is going to China in November before the second task force report comes out.  Senator Nelson has called on the President to bring the drywall issue up to President Hu and encourage China’s leader to provide some level of compensation for the estimated $15 - $25M it will cost to clean up the mess.     That could be awkward, especially if the task force hasn’t yet made a connection between the toxins and the corrosion and health problems.   Follow the bouncing ball.  

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