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Chinese Drywall in Florida Properties

Chinese Drywall in Florida Properties

–Chinese Drywall Causing Problems in Florida Homes
Since June 2008, the Florida Department of Health has received more than 330 complaints from homeowners about the presence of strong, sulfur-like odors and black corrosion on everything from refrigerator coils to mirrors in their houses. The odor and corrosion have been linked to the use of Chinese drywall in new construction and remodeling completed in the state between 2004 and 2008. Homeowners with Chinese drywall have reported respiration problems, nose bleeds, headaches and cold-like symptoms.

Normally, Florida builders use drywall manufactured in the United States, Mexico and Canada to build homes. But during the housing boom and reconstruction period after the hurricanes, there was a shortage of drywall, forcing builders to buy product manufactured elsewhere, including from China.

The Chinese drywall has been found to contain traces of strontium sulfide. When strontium sulfide interacts with moist air, it produces corrosive gases, including hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is characterized by a rotten egg smell. This smell has been so strong in some homes that families have been forced to leave.

Here are some signs that your home may has Defective Drywall from China:
1. Check the label. A visible inspection may tell you whether or not you have Chinese drywall in your home. In many instances, the drywall will be stamped “Made in China.” However, there have been examples of drywall without the stamp in homes with odor and corrosion problems.

2. The smell test. One of the most obvious tells of the presence of Chinese drywall is the odor emitted by the product. Homeowners have reported a sulfur-like, rotten egg smell in their houses. The smell also has been described as metallic.

3. Visible corrosion. Watch for the presence of a black, soot-like coating on copper wiring, especially on air conditioning units and kitchen appliances. The corrosion also has shown up on mirrors, plumbing fixtures, door hinges and even metal finishes on furniture. Appliances that quit working or start breaking down after you have had them for a limited amount of time also may be due to corrosion caused by defective drywall from China.

4. Timeline. The Florida Department of Health believes that only homes built or remodeled between 2004 and 2008 may be affected by Chinese drywall problems. If your home is older, it is unlikely the defective drywall was used.

As of right now, the only way to remedy both odor and corrosion problems caused by Chinese drywall is to remove the drywall. There are no quick fixes to the problem or air tests that will determine if the drywall in your home is bad. The best option for homeowners concerned about drywall is to contact their homebuilder or a qualified air conditioning technician to determine if they have Chinese drywall in their homes. Only Florida licensed contractors should be hired to remove and replace the drywall. You should be wary of anyone posing as a contractor who contacts you about testing or inspecting your home for Chinese drywall. The Florida Attorney General’s Office has received several fraud complaints against individuals who presented themselves as “drywall experts” and solicited business from homeowners.

Homeowners who have been harmed by the presence of Chinese drywall in their homes have important legal rights. The manufacturers and suppliers of the defective product may be liable for injuries, including any adverse health effects, the costs of future medical monitoring and the remediation expenses to repair your home and remove the harmful product. To fully protect your rights though, make sure that you speak with an attorney before signing a release. Insurance companies often try to secure quick settlements at the expense of fair compensation for people who have suffered harm. An experienced attorney can help you understand all of your options and ensure that your interests are protected.