A Florida class action lawsuit has been filed against the makers, exporters and suppliers of Chinese drywall products that have been found to emit noxious odors, damage air conditioners and potentially lead to health problems.
The Chinese drywall lawsuit alleges that more than 200,000 sheets of drywall used to make homes in Florida between 2004 and 2006, were manufactured from fly ash residue, which is a waste material generally captured from the chimneys of coal-fired power plants.
When exposed to moist conditions, the drywall may begin to emit an unpleasant odor due to the presence of sulfur compounds. This may also corrode air conditioning units and copper wiring, resulting in property damage and other expenses for the homeowner.
Though a definitive connection between the Chinese drywall and health problems has not been made, more than 50 complaints have been made to the health department in Florida about the drywall problems.
People living in Florida houses built with Chinese drywall have reported symptoms such as eye irritation, sneezing, coughing, nose bleeds, difficulty breathing and symptoms resembling bronchitis and asthma. The very young, the elderly and people with chemical allergies and asthma could be at greater risk of health problems from the drywall emissions.
The Florida drywall lawsuit was filed on January 30, 2009 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, in Fort Myers, on behalf of Shane M. Allen and Nicole J. Allen, who have had several problems with their air condition since 2006. The issues have been traced to problems with the Chinese drywall used when the home was constructed.
Defendants in the lawsuit are the Chinese drywall manufacturer, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin (KPT), The Knauf Group, the German parent company of Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin, Banner Supply, a Florida building supplies company and Rothchilt International Ltd., a China-based exporter.
The complaint also seeks class action status on behalf of other homeowners in Florida whose houses were built with Chinese drywall from the same defendants.