With the widespread use Chinese products, it had to happen sooner or later—a construction defect made in China. According to the Wall Street Journal, gypsum wallboard—otherwise known as drywall—manufactured in China is releasing sulfur gases, which can smell foul and cause corrosion. Apparently the sulfur, a noxious chemical, has been linked to problems with air conditioning systems and wiring in homes built with the sulfur-containing drywall.
So far, South Florida is the only area where homeowners are complaining in significant numbers.
Gypsum, a key component of drywall, is a mineral compound commonly mined from underground deposits or produced as a chemical by-product. In response to the complaints, the manufacturer, Knauf , is purchasing its gypsum from another mine and has begun to test for sulfur. Although sulfur can be harmful to humans, the emission levels reportedly do not exceed the threshold set by the Florida Department of Health. They have, however, been blamed for heating and cooling system failures.
Like the widely-publicized Chinese dog food and baby formula scandals, the sulfur-containing drywall is likely to spawn litigation as homeowners undertake costly repairs to address the corrosion problem and its cause. Hopefully, the tainted drywall continues to distinguish itself from prior defective product scandals in one important respect—no deaths or injuries have been reported.