For thousands of homeowners, an unwelcome companion lives with them every day, without their consent and sometimes without their knowledge. This unwelcome housemate is known as Chinese drywall. This dangerous defective material was utilized in a multitude of homes between 2001 to 2007, when it was imported from China. The drywall has created an unhealthy and dangerous atmosphere for homeowners, who have to deal with not only symptoms of failing health, but also their actual possessions showing evidence of exposure to Chinese drywall. One couple in particular describe the chain of events that led them to the discovery that they were living in hazardous circumstances as a result of the Chinese drywall being used in the construction of their dream home.
Chinese drywall is not the type of danger that is instantly apparent; rather, it is hidden in the home, being that it is sheet rock which is later covered and painted over. However, this hidden hazard releases toxic fumes into the air which causes health effects as well as deterioration in objects exposed to such toxins. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, “the drywall releases hydrogen sulfide and possibly other gases causing corrosion of wiring and appliance and possible health problems.” A couple who detail their experience with the defective, hazardous material, stated that their first inclination that something was seriously wrong was when they had to replace their air conditioning compressor and coils twice, within a three month time span. Upon speaking with their friends and neighbors, they discovered that numerous homeowners in the area had to replace their air conditioning compressor and coils often as well, which is not normal for such equipment. The trauma continued when the couple described smelling rotten egg in their home on a daily basis, to such an extent that when they left their home, co-workers and friends would mention that the couple themselves smelled like rotten egg. As further indication of the danger that lurked in their home, the silver jewelry and dishware turned black after sitting out for a mere week and half. Pretty soon, friends, relatives, and neighbors stopped coming to their home, the smell was too much to handle and the couple was at a loss of what to do. Hiring a home inspector to come help them discover the root of their problems, the inspector discovered their house was built with Chinese drywall. Scared and unsure of what their options were, the couple turned to legal guidance and support for answers.
Lawsuits have been filed against the Chinese drywall manufacturer, Knauf Drywall, and the distributor, Interior/Exterior Building Supply. In fact, to date, over 5,000 cases have been filed in a multi-district litigation in Louisiana under federal Judge Eldon Fallon. These lawsuits were pressed by those looking to recover the money it would cost to replace their drywall with a safer version. Since this process involves major construction, the costs are high and these people rightfully felt like they should not have to pay for unknowingly being exposed to contaminants by the manufacturer.
The health risks are extremely important to understand and take into consideration. According to Dr. Patricia Williams, a University of New Orleans toxicologists, “highly toxic compounds have been found in Chinese drywall and prolonged exposure to these compounds can cause serious problems. Strontium sulfide may be dangerous to developing children; affecting bone growth. Chronic exposure to these gases may affect the central nervous system (including visual and sensory changes), cardiovascular system, eyes, kidney, liver and skin.” These risk cannot be ignored, thus, seeking legal advice to understand all of the issues involved is strongly advised.
Chinese drywall is a hazardous material that thousands of homeowners have had to live with for years. Throughout this time period they were constantly barraged with toxic fumes which affected their health, lives, and enjoyment of their homes. Legally, homeowners have an action against the manufacturer and distributor of such a defective product and should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Homeowners need to understand how Chinese drywall impacts their health and environment. Monthly status calls are available for homeowners to listen to, that detail settlement discussions as well as liability issues. Homeowners are encouraged to listen in and can call the conference call number at: 1800.260.0702, with the access code 183730. The next scheduled status meeting will be January 20, 2011. Homeowners are strongly advised to seek legal support to protect their rights; if you live in a home with Chinese drywall, contact an attorney immediately.
If you are concerned about what options you have, please call The Berniard Law Firm, call Toll Free 1866.574.8005. An experienced attorney will help you through every step of the legal process.