Ft. Bragg Clears Chinese Drywall, Housing in Infant Deaths

An investigation by public works officials at Fort Bragg have found no evidence that the deaths of 10 children who lived in base housing since 2007 were related to toxic Chinese drywall

The North Carolina military base’s Directorate of Public Works announced this week that tests have ruled out the possibility that the environmental structure of the homes was the cause of the deaths, but they have not turned up answers for the series of unexplained infant deaths. Tests performed for toxins in the drywall, carbon monoxide, mercury vapor, mold, lead and asbestos where all negative or at levels well below the standard for human exposure set by the federal government.

Last month, it was reported that Army officials were investigating the deaths and whether there may be a possible connection to side effects of Chinese drywall. One of the ten homes initially tested positive for Chinese drywall before subsequent testing under different parameters determined that the toxic drywall was not in the home. Originally, the investigators were so certain of the tests that they told the family to evacuate the home, but a later test, using different parameters, found no Chinese drywall.

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The distributor of the drywall has told local media that they did not use tainted drywall from China.

Fort Bragg officials tested all 10 homes connected to the deaths of children between 8 months and 2 years of age who have died in military housing on the base over the last three years. They now indicate that the homes have been ruled out as part of the problem, and indicate that they are confident the homes are safe structures.

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.

The CPSC has received thousands of 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.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is still investigating the deaths at Fort Bragg, however. Parents say that the infant deaths were preceded by coughing, nose bleeds, eczema and asthma. In some cases, they reported a “rotten eggs” smell permeating the home, which is similar to experiences by people whose homes have been built with imported Chinese drywall that emits high levels of sulfur.

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, in New Orleans under U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon.


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