In late 2008, as reports emerged of strange odors and corroded metal in homes across the United States, investigators realized that some drywall manufactured China between 2001 and 2007 was defective and was emitting sulfur gases. The gases created an unpleasant smell and caused corrosion to metals, including electrical wiring, plumbing and appliances.
Aside from the financial cost of replacement and repair of damaged materials in the home, this defective drywall may create a serious safety concern. For example, the corrosion may affect devices designed to detect smoke, radon or carbon monoxide, rendering them ineffective or unreliable. Particulates from the drywall can break free into the air and could be inhaled by an occupant of the home. Health effects can include eye irritation, respiratory issues and sinus problems. Unfortunately, many of the health effects may arise before the occupant realizes defective drywall is the cause.
The original cause of the defective drywall is not completely understood. At first, investigators believed the drywall came from particular mines in China, although that seems now to not have been the case. (If so, the material could have been traced back to the source and eliminated.) Some now believe the defective drywall contains a bacteria that produces the sulfurous gases.
This Chinese drywall is certainly dangerous and, if installed in your home, should be professionally replaced. While the defective drywall emits an odor, relying on the odor alone is not a fail-safe method of detection. If a homeowner or occupant believes there may be defective drywall in the home, search for any unusual degradation of metal items. For example, if an air conditioner begins to leak Freon and requires a coil replacement, the cause could have been the corrosive gases from defective drywall.
If you believe that your home contains defective drywall, consider contacting an attorney to discuss your options.