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What is Chinese Drywall?


What is Chinese Drywall?

Chinese drywall in the strictest sense refers to drywall imported from China when exposed to high levels of humidity and temperature off-gases a variety of toxic and corrosive sulfuric compounds, most notably hydrogen sulfide, carbonyl sulfide, carbon disulfide and a host of other toxic volatile organic compounds.

Gypsum is one of the most plentiful minerals in the earth and is easily mined. The source of gypsum in the manufacture of drywall can be by-product from the scrubbing process of coal fired electrical generation plants or from mining operations. Most gypsum is obtained through mining. Testing done by United Engineering on samples of Chinese drywall found 5-15% organic material indicating the gypsum in Chinese drywall appears to come predominately from mining.

The vast majority of gypsum was formed from the evaporation of ancient seawater as the seas retreated to their present day levels. As the seawater evaporated, other minerals such as quartz, mica, strontium sulfide, pyrite, mica, dolomite, calcite and organic particles remained with the gypsum and are present in all drywall. The difference between domestic and Chinese drywall lies in the higher concentrations of these minerals, notably strontium sulfide, along with higher concentrations of organics and elemental sulfur. It is important to note that the drywall is not problematic due to differences in materials and material levels; the most important factor is the unknown mechanism which causes drywall made from this combination to be "reactive."

It is well known that Chinese drywall or "reactive drywall"
emits sulfide gases which react with airborne humidity to create a corrosive environment that attacks common metals, such as copper, used in construction. This is primarily due to Hydrogen Sulfide gas which is responsible for the characteristic rotten egg odor. As temperatures and humidity levels go up, the more favorable conditions become for defective drywall to off-gas. A common result is air conditioning coils failing as Hydrogen Sulfide reacts with water on the coils to produce sulfuric acid. It should be mentioned not all defective drywall exhibits the rotten egg odor. The CPSC is investigating the presence of a bacterium known to eat sulfur that has been found in numbers up to 10,000 times greater than non-reactive domestic drywall. This bacterium may be the mechanism causing the off-gassing by producing hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide as the waste products of their activity. Read more about Chinese Drywall Problem...

Compared to domestic drywall, elevated levels of strontium have been found to act as a marker in homes exhibiting the corrosive effects of "reactive drywall".

Fortunately, our Chinese Drywall Testing features the use of advanced noninvasive XRF testing technology to conclusively identify the elevated strontium levels found in defective drywall.

Facts about Chinese Drywall

Chinese Drywall or Defective Drywall is set to become the largest product liability the construction industry has ever seen. The housing boom had already created a shortage in domestic drywall and the importation of drywall from China before Hurricane Katrina was well underway. The damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2004 generated even more demand for imported drywall to meet construction needs. Since then there have been complaints from homeowners. Complaints include:

  • Corrosion of metals
  • Health Risks
  • Air Conditioning system failure within a year
  • Electronics fail rapidly

The most dangerous part is the gases the toxic drywall emits that combine with the humidity in the air making the environment highly corrosive. This environment is potentially hazardous to a person’s health. Homeowners have made complaints regarding the Chinese Drywall Problem such as nose bleeds, coughing, irritation, headaches, sore throat etc. Some doctors have gone so far in this matter as to advise their patients to leave their homes with Chinese Drywall. Learn more about Chinese Drywall Health Risks

Is Chinese Drywall a serious issue?

Chinese Sheet rock is a huge problem spread over many states. Defective drywall has been conclusively linked, by the Consumer Products Safety Commission, to drastically accelerated corrosion. 

The estimated numbers of homes vary because homes containing Chinese drywall commonly are found to have a mixture of Chinese and domestic drywall. In some instances, pallets of defective drywall were delivered together with non-affected drywall. Thus, with a specific subdivision some residences may be non-affected, while other homes contain defective drywall in only certain rooms. Still other houses may contain 100% defective drywall.

This creates problems in estimating the scope of the problem and equally important creates complications in accurate testing when hundreds of boards are used in a typical home. Therefore, Chinese Drywall Testing of all rooms and enclosed areas within a residence is usually necessary. Adding to this challenge, not all drywall from China is toxic while some domestic and Canadian labeled drywall has been found to be reactive. Moreover, there are reports of drywall from Canada and Mexico that has been discovered to be relabeled Chinese drywall. Learn more about the Chinese Drywall Problem

Is there a solution for Chinese Drywall?

Chinese Drywall Advisors takes seriously the effectiveness of the remediation process. There is a growing concern over the means and methods of Chinese Drywall Inspection and remediation practices that are beginning to take place throughout states that have been affected by Chinese or defective drywall. Although there are more and more protocols being introduced, no certified process, standards or guidelines have been put forth by either the states or the federal government.

With no clear standards the workgroup Defective drywall in America and the Building Envelope Science Institute - BESI embarked on a mission to produce a cost effective and certifiable process that was scientifically sound and would implement enough controls to properly remediate buildings with defective drywall. 

Chinese Drywall Advisors has taken certification training from the leader in the field, BESI, to provide proven remediation as outlined above. If you are a homeowner, commercial building owner, investor or lender seeking a Chinese Drywall Solution we would welcome the opportunity to show you the innovative techniques and exclusive products that make our remediation so effective.

Is there a need for Testing of Chinese Drywall?

Chinese Drywall Sheet Rock - Not knowing the status of your home may cost you big money, not to mention potential safety and health hazards. Chinese Drywall Testing is not just for health and safety issues. Other important reasons for Chinese Drywall Testing include:

  • Property tax relief of 75% or greater
  • Lender relief on FHA backed mortgages
  • Insurance claims
  • IRS tax deductions
  • Documentation for assisting attorney
  • If you are buying or selling a home
  • Renting a home
  • Lenders establishing knowledge of contamination status for liability and valuation reasons

Chinese Drywall Advisors offers a two tiered inspection format based upon the existence or non-existence of Chinese Drywall. Learn more about Chinese Drywall Testing

How can I apply for Testing of Chinese Drywall?

By now, you must all be aware of the Chinese Drywall Problem that is also mentioned as the largest product liability for the construction industry. Having Chinese Drywall can prove to be very harmful if ignored. Some doctors have gone so far as to advise their patients to leave houses that have Chinese Drywall.

Make sure you apply for Chinese Drywall Testing from Chinese Drywall Advisors because Chinese Drywall Advisors features non-destructive X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) testing. It is an integral part of our certified testing protocol. XRF is fast and non-destructive to the sample, it is the method of choice for field applications. Its use allows a quick Chinese Drywall Inspection for the presence of Chinese Drywall.

Why Should I order a Chinese Drywall Inspection?

Chinese Drywall has caused quite a problem in the construction industry since 2001. It is a safety and health risk. It is believed that:

  • A minimum of 20 mil sq. ft. of Chinese drywall entered the U.S. since 2001
  • More than 65,000 American homes could be affected
  • Emits harmful sulfur gases
  • Corrodes copper wiring
  • Contaminates furnishings & fabrics
  • Damages air conditioners and appliances
  • Corrosion can produce fire hazards in the electrical system.

XRF testing is a superior protocol because it basically brings a portable lab to your home. Other inspection protocols take limited samples of suspect drywall that must be sent to a distant laboratory for analysis. Chinese Drywall Advisors hand held X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) makes a superior analysis and provides you with quick results regarding the presence or non-presence of a Chinese Drywall Problem.

Chinese Drywall Advisors can schedule testing of drywall prior to installation on new construction to assure no defective board is used. Call Chinese Drywall Advisors for Chinese Drywall Inspection and remediation needs. 

Is Chinese Drywall Harmful for Health?

It has been reported that some people are attributing new health problems to their homes that are found to have Chinese Drywall. Officially, the levels of sulfur compounds and volatile organic compounds (VOC) released into the air by Chinese or defective drywall do not meet the state's Departments of Health and other governmental agencies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and OSHA standards to be a health hazard. Levels of these gases considered to be toxic are measured in the parts per million (ppm). Homes contaminated with reactive drywall measure in the parts per billion (PPB). 

Governmental agencies, universities and associated private laboratories recognize the urgent need and are doing extensive testing and studies to better understand the health risks associated with "reactive drywall". Unfortunately, short and long term health risks will remain an open question for years to come. Homeowners exposed to Chinese Drywall are reporting Health issues like nose bleeding, coughing, dizziness, itching etc.

People with weak immune systems such as children, the elderly and those with pre-existing illnesses are most susceptible to these toxic gases. Children and pets have additional risk factors due to corrosive hydrogen sulfide and other toxic sulfides such as carbonyl sulfide and carbon disulfide being heavier than air concentrating near the floor. Healthy adults living in homes having higher reactivity should exercise caution as reports of health loss are not uncommon. Learn more about Chinese Drywall Health Risks
For a professional Chinese Drywall Inspection, make an appointment with our team of experts for cost effective solutions to relieve you from Defective Drywall problems.
For further information and queries email info@chinesedrywalladvisors.com