Chinese drywall continues to create problems for homeowners in Florida, with little financial relief from insurance companies on the horizon.
During a few years in the early 2000s, millions upon millions of sheets of drywall were imported from China due to a domestic shortage in the United States. This drywall was made with some toxic compounds which were not noticed until recently. There have been thousands of homes built in the U.S. with this tainted wallboard which has resulted in a very serious and growing problem for many families who had no idea that they had toxins in the walls of their home. These noxious chemicals were jeopardizing the structure of their homes as well as the health of their families for years. The long-term affects are not known at this time although studies are being conducted.
Most homeowners have reported smelling a very strong odor in their homes that reminded them of the smell of rotting eggs. Others discovered that their air conditioning and heating units mysteriously stopped working. Still more found that electrical wires, cords cables and copper piping inside their homes were slowing deteriorating and turning black. Nearly all complained of sore throats, hacking coughs, itching eyes and trouble breathing to some extent or another. Some homeowners were forced to move completely out of their homes due to the heath problems that would not disappear as well as due to the horrific smell that was permeating everything inside their homes.
There are numerous lawsuits pending in federal court throughout the United States and the charges and blame are being directed at two Chinese companies that made the tainted drywall which is making people sick. The U.S. government has told affected homeowners that they must gut their homes completely in order to remedy the problem. No one seems to know yet who exactly is expected to pay for the massive restoration jobs as insurance companies are shying away from dealing with this new type of claim and domestic building contractors are closing down shop out of the fear of being sued.
To make matters worse, there have been reports of real estate ‘flippers’ taking advantage of people. These unscrupulous home buyers are purchasing affected homes from homeowners who do not have the funds available to have their homes gutted and turning around and re-selling them to people who have not yet heard of the drywall problem. Word is now spreading in states known to have the drywall problem warning prospective home buyers not to buy any home until they have had it thoroughly inspected to ensure that it is free of tainted wallboard from China.
For now, some homeowners who can afford it are paying to have their homes totally gutted out and rebuilt. Many less fortunate families have found their lives turned upside down as they were forced out of their homes due to the horrible smell and the worries of health risks and have moved in with extended family and/or friends until some type of definitive answers are given. We can only hope that those answers come soon and that the heath risks are found not to be long lasting.