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Makers of bad drywall named

Four Chinese firms appear on top 10 list

May 25, 2010


1:10 A.M.Plug in: Get in-depth coverage of the drywall problem in Southwest Florida, including forums and resources.

For the first time, the lead federal agency investigating defective Chinese drywall has identified the companies that had the highest level of a corrosive chemical.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Tuesday released a top 10 list from numerous drywall samples, both Chinese and domestic, tested for the agency by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The drywall, which was imported mostly from 2004-07, corrodes air conditioning coils, plumbing fixtures, electrical wiring and other metal appliances and items in the home. Many residents who have the drywall complain of health effects from respiratory problems to nosebleeds.

Last November, the commission said five months of testing in 51 homes showed “a strong association” between levels of hydrogen sulfide emitted by the drywall and corrosion of metals.

Some of the Chinese drywall in the top 10 list had emission rates 100 times greater than non-Chinese drywall samples.

Four Chinese companies are responsible for the top 10 samples tested.

• Knauf Plasterbard Tianjin Ltd. has two spots on the list.

• Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd., also known as Shandong Taihe Dongxin Co. and Taishan Gypsum, has six spots.

• Beijing New Building Materials has one spot.

• Shandong Chenxiang GBM Co. Ltd. has one spot.

Taian Taishan and Beijing are owned by the Chinese government.

Richard Kampf, a Cape Coral homeowner who has Knauf Tianjin drywall and heads a grass-roots coalition of about 350 drywall homeowners, said it’s good to know which companies had the highest levels.

But he wonders if there is a difference in the health effects between No. 1 on the list and No. 10.

“The big issue for me is the synergistic effect of the compounds mixed together,” including chemicals emitted by the drywall mixed with other chemicals present in the home, Kampf said.

Attorney Allison Grant, who represents more than 500 drywall cases in Florida — including at least 50 in Cape Coral — said she was more surprised by the statement made by Inez Tenenbaum, commission chairwoman.

Tenenbaum said in the statement: “I appeal to these Chinese drywall companies to carefully examine their responsibilities to U.S. families who have been harmed and do what is fair and just.”

“It sounds like a plea,” Grant said. “Pleas aren’t going to do any good. That’s why we are suing these people.”

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