By Kevin Chiu
A second housing crisis is slowly working its way through 20 states as more victims fall ill from poisonous fumes emitting from their very residences. From the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, where workers are replacing toxic Chinese drywall in new homes built for victims of Hurricane Katrina across the country it’s being called “the silent hurricane.”
Toxic emissions from the drywall spew into the indoor air streams and are inhaled by residents, who report numerous health issues, including headaches, nausea, lung problems and rashes among other symptoms from the substance.
From 2004 to 2007 during the real estate boom an estimated 100,000 new homes were built with imported Chinese Drywall fabricated with a potent sulfur like toxic substance. Emissions from the drywall corrode plumbing, electrical systems and cause a black mold to appear at the surface of electrical outlets. The discoloration of copper and other metal surfaces is one of the chief indicators of toxic drywall.
Replacing the drywall is estimated to cost up to $25 billion, according to National Underwriter, an insurance industry publication. Tens of thousands of lawsuits have been filed by homeowners against new home builders and thousands of families have been forced to move out of their homes.
Class-action lawsuits filed in federal court detail the sulfurous odor that spews into a homes air-ventilation system, ruining appliances, televisions, computers and make homes unlivable. The litigation is likely to go on for years as homeowners, lacking any other alternative walk away from their homes and let the property go back to the bank or mortgage company.
The victims of are quietly adding to the foreclosure crisis in areas where the problems are particularly acute, including Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and Mississippi. Except for an occasional report in the newspaper in regions where the drywall is most popular, little is reported about the drywall and its affects on the housing industry.
The Chinese Drywall Complaint Center was created to provide an inspection service for Florida home buyers to protect prospective purchasers’ from a home that contains poisonous drywall.
“At the same time this unique toxic Chinese drywall inspection service has also been designed to assist current Florida homeowners stuck in a Chinese drywall home, in the hopes it will assist them in getting a significant loan modification, or a meaningful forbearance agreement with their bank, or loan servicing company,” according to a company statement.
“Tragically the toxic Chinese drywall disaster in Florida has the atmospherics of the Wild West. There is no meaningful federal or state response. President Obama has not mentioned this disaster one time in public. There is no Congressional rescue plan. It’s everybody on their own. We are trying to change this dynamic by offering an inspection service with consumer protection, and consumer assistance as its number one goals.”