The Dangers Of Chinese Drywall In America
Starting in 2001, our country faced an historic level of damage caused by storms, such as Hurricane Katrina. Because of all the damage and building supplies needed, the domestic supply of drywall was exhausted. We had to import unprecedented levels of drywall, and the major source was from various manufacturers located in China.
Initially everything seemed to be fine. As large shipments of drywall arrived from China, the materials were quickly used to make repairs and to replace destroyed homes. However, soon issues started to arise with owners of homes where some of the “Chinese Drywall” was used. There were reports about damage happening to plumbing and wiring, unusual smells and then even people becoming sick from fumes. California home insurance is very particular when it comes to building materials…and this massive order that was imported into the United States is no exception.
Apparently, a significant amount of the “Chinese Drywall” contained contaminants and adhesives that made them unsuitable of use in home construction. Any significant level of humidity caused the release of toxic fumes that caused sickness and also corroded plumbing and wiring. Many of the homes had to have the drywall ripped out and replaced with safe materials.
Who is responsible for paying for repairs? The use of “Chinese Drywall” has triggered a large number of lawsuits. Homeowners naturally turned to their insurance companies for coverage to make repairs for new drywall, plumbing, wiring and for expenses that occurred because they could not live in their homes because of the fumes. However, these losses involved defective construction, maintenance and pollution; which are all excluded on a California home insurance policy.
There are a lot of innocent parties, such as homeowners, insurance companies, builders and contractors who, in most instances, had no idea that there were problems with the materials they purchased and used. The “Chinese Drywall“situation will take many years and a lot of money to resolve. It is a catastrophe, born by other, natural catastrophes.
Written by: Rhonda Remland
Photo Credit: Nola