CPSC Releases Names of Toxic Chinese Drywall Manufacturers

Federal investigators say they have identified the specific companies that imported the Chinese drywall products that are emitting high levels of sulfur, damaging electrical equipments and releasing foul odors in thousands of homes across the U.S. 

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released drywall testing results on Tuesday, which identify a number of companies as manufacturers of the toxic drywall. All of the drywall found to be releasing high amounts of sulfur were made in China.

According to the CPSC, federal investigators have received more than 3,300 complaints from across the United States from homeowners who say that toxic Chinese wallboard imported between 2004 and 2007 releases sulfuric odors, causes health problems, and corrodes wiring and appliances. Many of the problems with the Chinese drywall have been confirmed by laboratory testing.

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Millions of sheets of the toxic drywall were imported from China into the United States due to a domestic shortage caused by a housing boom and construction following a serious of hurricanes that struck the southeastern United States. The CPSC has confirmed more than 6 million sheets were imported into the country in 2006 alone.

Testing performed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) was used to detect emissions of hydrogen sulfide from a large number of domestic and imported drywall. The CPSC says there is a “strong association” between hydrogen sulfide and metal corrosion. Some of the worst Chinese drywall was found to emit 100 times as much hydrogen sulfide as wallboard made in the U.S.

The companies with the most sulfuric drywall included:

  • Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co. Ltd.
  • Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.
  • Shandong Taihe Dongxin Co.
  • Shandong Chenxiang GBM Co. Ltd. (C&K Gypsum Board)
  • Beijing New Building Materials (BNBM)

Knauf Plasterboard, Taian Taishan and Shandong Taihe had multiple products which the CPSC considered to be among the worst of the worst.

A number of homeowners throughout the United States have filed lawsuits over Chinese drywall, naming manufacturers, distributors and builders. In June 2009, all of the federal drywall litigation was consolidated and centralized in an MDL, or Multidistrict Litigation, under U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon in New Orleans.

Knauf faces about 200 Chinese drywall lawsuits, most of them from home owners. The company also faces a number of lawsuits from builders it supplied with drywall as well. In most cases, those builders are being sued by the owners of the homes they themselves constructed and are looking to cover the cost of having to nearly rebuild the homes to remove the defective materials. The company has reached a tentative Chinese drywall settlements with some builders and is reaching out to others.

To date, Knauf, which is German owned, is the only company to have responded to drywall complaints and which has agreed to work with the U.S. legal system.

In March, Judge Fallon ruled that Taian Taishan owed $2.6 million to seven Virginia families. Taishan did not respond to the lawsuits or send anyone to represent the company in the U.S. federal court. Some plaintiffs attorneys have recommended that Taishan inventory on ships in U.S. waters and on U.S. soil be seized.

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