No Link Found Between Chinese Drywall and Deaths: CDC

Federal investigators say that they have found no link between 11 reported deaths and Chinese drywall, which has been found to release toxic fumes that have damaged homes throughout the United States. 

At the behest of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a review of 11 people who died after living in, or visiting, homes that were believed to contain toxic Chinese drywall.

In a report (pdf) released on January 31, the CDC declared that it could find no evidence that suggested the deaths were caused by the Chinese drywall.

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The CPSC has received thousands of complaints from across the United States from homeowners who say that the toxic drywall imported from China releases sulfuric odors that corrode wiring throughout the home, damage appliances and may cause various health problems. Many of the problems with the Chinese drywall have been confirmed by laboratory testing.

Millions of sheets of the Chinese drywall were brought into the United States due to a domestic shortage caused by a housing boom and construction following a series of hurricanes that struck the southeastern United States.

In addition to complaints of property damage and various illnesses reported in connection with the drywall, several reports indicated that the deaths of individuals who frequently visited or lived in homes with Chinese drywall might have been attributable to exposure to the toxic fumes. The cases included five deaths in Louisiana, five from Florida and one from Virginia.

The CDC conducted a review of clinical records of all 11 people, who were between the ages of 59 and 82 years of age. In all of the cases in Florida and Louisiana , the CDC determined that the persons had preexisting chronic health conditions before their deaths. In the Virginia case, the person had chronic heart disease, acute choleycystitis and pneumonia before death. The medical examiner found nothing linking the death to Chinese drywall exposure.

Several hundred homeowners have filed Chinese drywall lawsuits, naming manufacturers, distributors and builders. In June 2009, all of the federal drywall litigation was consolidated and centralized in an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, in New Orleans.

A Chinese drywall settlement with one manufacturer, German-based Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin (KPT), has resulted in hundreds of homes undergoing repairs at the company’s expense, and is likely to be increased to thousands. However, the settlement only applies to those who can confirm that their drywall was made by KPT. Other Chinese drywall importers, particularly those based in China, have refused to even answer court summons or acknowledge the lawsuits.


  • DouglasFebruary 2, 2011 at 2:07 am

    I am in this remediation program that was suppose to begin months ago here in Florida. As of 2/1/11 no homes in the Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin settlement have even begun being repaired

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