NEWFLASH- SOME HOME CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS ARE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH
Chinese-manufactured laminate flooring
60 Minutes Lumber Liquidators Episode
by CNN’s Anderson Cooper revealed Chinese-manufactured laminate flooring sold by the company contains high levels of the cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde.
The ’60 Minutes’ report cited lab tests performed for an environmental and consumer protection nonprofit that found some samples of laminate flooring contained very high levels of the chemical. Some pieces had six to seven times the level of formaldehyde allowed under California law, according to environmental attorney Richard Drury, who was interviewed by “60 Minutes.” Others had 20 times the limit. A doctor told CBS long-term exposure to chemicals at those levels “would increase the risk for chronic respiratory irritation, change in a person’s lung function, increased risk of asthma” and be especially dangerous for children.
The suspect flooring is in “hundreds of thousands” of homes nationwide, according to Drury.
There is no good logic that can explain to the consumer why formaldehyde — a chemical that is classified as a carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. government’s Center for Disease Control (CDC) — is still on the market without any federal standards for emissions allowed in homes (except for prefabricated or mobile homes). Its toxicity was news to many.
Over 3,000 homeowners have reported that drywall imported from China has caused health problems and metal corrosion in their homes. The contaminated drywall has high levels of sulfur, which may be responsible for a rotten egg smell in affected homes, blackened or corroded pipes, failure of air conditioners and other household appliances, and health problems such as asthma, coughing, headaches, sore throats, and irritated eyes.
Most of the contaminated drywall was installed in 2006 and 2007 following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, when a spike in home construction caused a shortage of drywall made in the United States. The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received complaints from homeowners in 37 states, although the bulk of reports come from Florida and several other states in the south.
Costs of Remediation
Homeowners affected by contaminated Chinese drywall may find themselves saddled with large remediation costs — expenses incurred in removing the contaminated drywall and installing new, problem-free drywall. As of yet, there is no standard recommendation for remediation. For example, it is unclear whether removal of sheetrock is necessary to rid the home of problems associated with the contamination.
Decreased Home Value
Not surprisingly, the market value often decreases in homes that have — or are suspected to have — contaminated Chinese drywall.
What to Do If You Suspect Problem Drywall in Your Home
The CPSC recommends the following steps if you suspect you may have problem drywall in your home:
If you have adverse health symptoms, see your doctor immediately.
If you have safety concerns about electrical problems or fire hazards, consult with an electrician or building inspector immediately.
Report the suspected drywall problem to the CPSC by calling 800-638-2772 or visiting the CPSC’s Drywall Information Center at www.cpsc.gov/info/drywall/index.html.
Consider reporting the problem to your homeowner’s insurance company and the homebuilder or remodeler that installed the drywall.