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News in short: Chinese drywall differs chemically from other drywall

In what may be a smoking gun of the evidentiary sort, federal investigators have found a chemical difference in the composure of Chinese drywall when compared to those products made within the country. While the discovery has yet to be the clear-cut indictment of the manufacturers of the imported wallboard, it is significant because it shows a clear difference between that drywall causing problems and domestic drywall that remains to be safe and not a cause for concern.

The New York Times reports

Federal investigators reported Thursday that imported Chinese drywall that homeowners have linked to health problems and odors had higher levels of some chemicals than its domestic counterparts.

The investigators, however, were unable to link the chemicals, sulfur and strontium, to the health problems and smells in thousands of homes built during the recent housing boom, and said further testing was under way to determine any possible connection.

The preliminary findings are part of a larger study by federal agencies, including the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency, into complaints from nearly 2,000 homeowners that their recently built homes emit odors and cause nosebleeds and respiratory problems. The owners also say their electrical appliances have failed and their wiring has corroded. It has been estimated that more than 60,000 homes could have the imported drywall.

While the investigation continues and more work is needed, this is a very positive development because other than complaints of those with Chinese drywall, this is one of the first distinguishing features between positive and negative wallboard that can be pointed to as proof of a problem. More information, as it becomes available, will continue to be posted on this site’s Chinese drywall section.