A recent study fails to show that faulty drywall in homes is a cause of health problems.
About 4,000 families complained to the Consumer Product Safety Commission that bad drywall was causing nosebleeds and respiratory ailments. More than half of those families were in Florida.
Researchers testified to a Senate panel that the toxic chemicals released by the drywall are not high enough to show a link to the health issues.
The CPSC’s findings do not yet support making the agency call for a recall of the drywall because of health risks, according to The Tallahassee Democrat.
“We’re not suggesting that (those effects) don’t exist,” said Neal Cohen, with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. “We’re suggesting that we have not been able to explain them with the low level of emissions we were able to (detect) in the home.”
Cohen was speaking to members of a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee last December. “Unfortunately, the results of our studies have not permitted us to make health or safety findings that would enable us to compel the manufacturer to recall this product,” he said.
The National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control had a similar message for Senate committee members. That agency is doing more testing and expects new results in the spring.
Some homeowners claim that the drywall in their homes has made them sick. Drywall manufacturers have disputed those claims, but since drywall is rarely labeled, it is difficult to say with any authority exactly where specific drywall came from in any given house. Just because a subcontractor said American drywall was used doesn’t necessarily mean that the drywall in the home is American, according to CBS News.
The Chinese government owns many of the drywall manufacturers that the CPSC is trying to investigate. CPSC researchers even tried to tour a Chinese plant to try and understand what goes into imported drywall, but they were turned away at the mines during the inspection, according to Propublica.
Cohen told the Senators at the hearing that the answer from China so far has been unhelpful. “To date there has been no response from the Chinese manufacturers,” Cohen said at the hearing. “They are basically telling us, ‘return to sender’ and that they don’t believe there is a problem with their drywall.”
Many of the Florida homes that have been affected are ones built after the 2005 hurricane season.