The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) continues to investigate problems stemming from drywall imported from China and used in an estimated 100,000 homes in the United States.
The drywall in question was imported mainly from 2004-2007 during the American housing boom and has been suspected of causing many different health ailments, including headaches, rashes, and breathing problems. In addition, it is thought to be contributing to the corrosion of electrical wiring, air-conditioning coils, and other metal housing components. To date, there have been no confirmed fires attributed to the drywall.
Many homeowners have noted a distinct smell that is similar to rotten eggs coming from the drywall, which may be due to the presence of compounds such as strontium sulfide – a gray powder that emits a strong odor when exposed to moist, humid air.
Health officials have yet to determine whether anyone exposed to Chinese drywall will suffer any long-term health consequences. However, according to the Associated Press and the Centers for Disease Control, prolonged exposure to some of the compounds found in the drywall can affect the nervous system and can cause breathing problems, chest pains and even death.
While the drywall complaints initially surfaced in Florida and other southeastern states, the CPSC has now received nearly 1,000 complaints from residents in over 20 states, including some as far north as Pennsylvania. The agency is also working to confirm the total amount of drywall that was imported from China, with a current estimate showing well over 6 million sheets.