Chinese Drywall Problems Lead to Reports of Scams in Florida

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum indicates that the recent Chinese drywall problems that have surfaced throughout Florida, have led to reports of scams involving con artists fraudulently claiming that they can detect the presence of corrosive drywall and others who are falsely promising to fix the issues caused by the defective wall-board.

In recent months, a substantial amount of media attention has focused on problems with Chinese drywall that was imported into the United States between 2002 and 2007.

Homeowners have found that the defective drywall could emit corrosive gases, causing foul odors, damaging electrical wiring, plumbing and appliances. A number of homeowners have also claimed that they have suffered health issues caused by the Chinese drywall.

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Of an estimated 100,000 homes throughout the United States that may have been built with the drywall from China, about 35,000 were built in Florida, making it the worst hit state.

Since January 2009, the Florida Department of Health has received at least 265 complaints from homeowners.

At this time, the Florida Department of Health indicates that they do not have the necessary resources to visit homes and collect air or other samples, however they have done preliminary evaluations of some homes and have begun testing to evaluate the potential health impact of the Chinese drywall problems.

On Thursday, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum encouraged homeowners to avoid potential scams like the sale of bogus test kits, door-to-door solicitations of home inspections by alleged “experts” with no qualifications, the sale of sprays and applications which allegedly cure the drywall corrosion problems and the sale of ozone generators, which could actually accelerate the corrosion of copper.

“The presence of defective imported drywall cannot be determined by ‘testing’ the air in the home,” said McCollum in a press release issued April 23, 2009. “Additionally, if the substance is found during visual inspection, it cannot be remedied with a spray or ozone generator. These products may make the problem worse.”

State Senator Dave Aronberg asked Governor Charlie Crist last week to form a task force to address the Florida drywall issues, suggesting that an emergency session of the state legislature should be called this summer to enact new laws and set statewide policy for standards to deal with the Chinese drywall.


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