The Consumer Product Safety Commission has spent more than $3.5 Million investigating sulfur-containing drywall in what has become one of the largest investigations in CPSC history, according to Scott Wolfson, spokesman for the CPSC. And the investigation is not done yet. During a press conference last week, the CPSC announced the release of more than 1,800 pages of investigation documents from three separate studies. Additional reports are expected to be released later this month.
Based on this initial information, the CPSC has confirmed that suspect Chinese drywall contains elevated levels of sulfur compounds in comparison to non-Chinese drywall. According to Mr. Wolfson, the measured levels do not pose a human health risk to homeowners. Still, the CPSC has received more than 1,900 complaints about drywall-related health symptoms and other problems. In addition, the CPSC is continuing to work on a 50-home study with the Lawrence Berkeley Livermore Laboratory, and this report may provide the scientific evidence necessary to connect Chinese drywall to the symptoms homeowners have been experiencing.
What is more, the reports due later this month may also answer the question about whether the CPSC will seek a recall of Chinese drywall. So far, the drywall manufacturers have not voluntarily agreed to recall their product, which means that the CPSC will need to clearly establish a link between Chinese drywall and the problems it is believed to have caused. Although the CPSC declined to comment about whether a recall action was imminent, Mr. Wolfson did say that the CPSC is “continuing to try to gather that proof” and that “rigorous scientific evidence is needed” to link the tainted drywall to health problems and excessive corrosion.
Finally, the CPSC recently launched a new website, www.drywallresponse.gov, and a hotline, 1-800-638-2772, to help consumers affected by this issue.