A recent Times Picayune article profiles the effects the recent Chinese drywall dilemma have caused residents of New Orleans in this time of great stress. Brought in by the millions, the drywall was used steadily in the wake of Katrina with an unknown number of local residents having it installed in their homes. As time progresses, however, more individuals are finding out the toll having this wallboard used is causing them:
Consumers, such as Jennifer Belsom, whose homes are lined with noxious Chinese drywall are angry, helpless and embittered. The tainted drywall has sickened their families and corroded their appliances, yet few sources of help have emerged to help them tear it out of their homes.
Insurance companies have denied their claims. Builders will not return their calls. Their mortgage lenders offer no reprieve if they want to move out of their house to escape the potential health threat. In the absence of a federal disaster declaration, they cannot obtain a rental voucher or a Small Business Administration loan to help with repairs.
The drywall has thus become a financial catastrophe for residents of greater New Orleans, many of whom exhausted insurance money or personal savings to repair homes after Hurricane Katrina, only to be forced out again by toxic building material many believe contributes to nosebleeds and respiratory problems.
As her baby battled rashes and a continual sinus infection, Belsom and her family moved out of the home they repaired in Meraux and into another they had planned to use as a rental. Belsom is at a loss for what to do with the contaminated property, which she believes is nearly worthless as long as it contains the tainted drywall.
Unfortunately there is no clear-cut solution for residents to implement besides contacting a doctor and legal expert when these symptoms begin go pop up. Opinion consistently leans towards vacating the property as soon as possible but the next step is often difficult. By notifying the builder or contractor of the project that brought in the goods and legal and medical experts, the ball will at least be rolling to make sure your interests are covered when the dust is settled and compensatory efforts are started.