Chinese drywall numbers might be overstated

The Miami Herald reports that the originally announced total of 100,000 homes facing problems because of Chinese drywall may be overstated. While consumer groups contest this, the news that the number may be less is a mix of good and bad. Though it would be nice to think that far less families are facing the plight of this imported wallboard, that the number might be overstated could mean that it is more of an uphill battle to prove the toxic problem.

The Herald’s article notes

Now some are questioning if that figure — and the scope of the drywall problem itself — is exaggerated.

A spokesman for the lead federal agency investigating the drywall issue recently cautioned reporters about using the figure, saying it has not been substantiated.

“The best information we have to date is that, that number is overstated,” said Scott Wolfson, of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, citing a relatively low number of drywall complaints lodged with the agency.

But others contend the estimate is valid, perhaps even low, and that the number of complaints reflects only a fraction of the issue’s true scope.

“There’s a lot of people still in denial or unaware of this stuff,” said Thomas Martin, president of Americas Watchdog, a consumer-advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.

While facts will continue to come out as they become available, it is important that the discussion is continuing regarding Chinese drywall. The situation is difficult but over time everything will emerge. In the meantime it is important that those who suspect they have Chinese drywall to contact an attorney and building expert to find out their options.

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