What’s all the Chinese Drywall about?

The argument rages on regarding the cause and effects of Chinese manufactured drywall. What is crystal clear is that there is something causing health issues and damage to homes where Chinese Drywall has been installed.

To set the stage it is important to know that anyone that has purchased a new or used home that was constructed during 2001 – 2007 and at first seemingly isolated to the following areas; Florida, California, Virginia, Arizona, Ohio, New Jersey, Georgia, Nevada, the Carolinas and Texas, however recently surveys of the issue now total 37 states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico reporting complaints and issues resulting from the installation of Chinese manufactured drywall.

Some of the health concerns of Chinese drywall have been addressed by Dr. Patricia Williams, a University of New Orleans toxicologist. “Highly toxic compounds have been found in Chinese drywall and prolonged exposure to these compounds can cause serious problems. Strontium sulfide may be dangerous to developing children; it affects bone growth. Chronic exposure to these gases may affect the central nervous system (including visual and sensory changes), cardiovascular system, eyes, kidneys, liver and skin. Infants, children, the elderly and infirm (particularly those with heart and lung disease and diabetes) and pets may have an increased vulnerability to these gases and the particulates that are released from the drywall. To date, the Florida Department of Health still maintains that the levels found in Chinese drywall are not high enough to present “an imminent or chronic health hazard at this time.” Many experts disagree.

Additionally a strong odor of Sulfur (Rotten Eggs) is present. Chinese drywall was found by Lawrence Berkley National Laboratories to emit hydrogen sulfide up to 100 times greater than non-Chinese produced drywall. Hydrogen sulfide is a hazardous gas which, in high concentrations, can be fatal. There is also a strong association between hydrogen sulfide and metal corrosion.

Chinese drywall tested by United Engineering, however, consisted of 5-15% organic material, which contradicts the theory that Chinese drywall was made of waste from coal fired power plants. It is now believed that the tainted drywall from China comes from mined gypsum, not synthetic gypsum which is made from coal ash. Mined gypsum contains high levels of strontium, which is visible as inclusions in electron scanning microscopy.

Another theory is that Chinese drywall contains bacteria (possibly from the water source used to manufacture the drywall) which is degrading iron and sulfur compounds to produce sulfur odors, although the CPSC’s recent report disputes this theory.

One can ask, “Knowing the hazards of using an inferior product, why would anyone ignore these issues and continue to purchase, install and then sell that to the public?” Unfortunately the answer to that question is “Money”!

Bayway Homes has never purchased Chinese Drywall nor installed any in any of our homes. That is not to say that we don’t through aggressive purchasing practices attempt to secure a reasonable price for materials, that is just good business practice. We don’t purchase inferior materials, represent them as superior materials in the quest to inflate margins.

“Built Better” isn’t just a meaningless buzz term. When you purchase a Bayway Home you may rest assured that Quality craftsmanship, materials, customer service and delivering a great home at a reasonable price is our number 1 goal.