By Mike Colpitts
Attorneys are working on a class action settlement with the makers of Chinese drywall that has damaged or destroyed more than 100,000 U.S. homes. But the drywall, which has been used in the construction of homes since as early as 2001 may soon be outlawed in the U.S.
Homeowners in at least six states, including Texas, Florida and Louisiana have lodged lawsuits against the Chinese maker in efforts to pay for massive damages that have occurred as a result of the material. Studies show Chinese drywall corrodes electrical wiring, destroys household appliances and can lead to a series of serious health issues.
Neither the EPA nor the Obama administration has taken an active role in the fight to bring homeowners any sort of settlement in the massive problem.
House Rep. Ted Deutch (D- Florida) is sponsoring a bill that would ban the contaminated drywalls usage in the U.S. “It’s about making sure this type of contaminated drywall is never imported again into the U.S., so it’s never used to build the homes of American citizens,” said Deutch.
The bill would pressure the U.S. government to lean on Chinese leaders to meet with U.S. officials to compensate homeowners for losses. The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission says the drywall contains hydrogen sulfide.
A smell of rotting eggs emanates from Chinese drywall riddled homes. Joe Matulenas and his family toured the home they were forced to move out of wearing respirators for a group of Congressional members in Virginia Beach, Virginia to show lawmakers how the tainted drywall has changed their lives.
An estimated 400 homes in the affluent Hampton Roads community of Virginia have been infected with problems associated with the drywall, making them mainly uninhabitable. The homes were built during the real estate bubble when supplies of drywall imported from China were widely used to provide builders the materials they needed to complete the construction of more than 100,000 homes now reported with problems related to the rotting drywall.
The bill would also hold Chinese manufacturers responsible for the defective drywall, forcing the companies to comply with U.S. regulations, and declare Chinese drywall as a banned substance and regulate its disposal so it would not be reused in other homes.