Consumer Protection

How to Protect Yourself: Chinese Drywall
Source: The Florida Attorney General


Drywall imported from China has had a devastating effect on homeowners nationwide, but Chinese drywall’s ill-effects have been most prevalent in Florida. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the lead federal agency investigating alleged Chinese drywall damage. Over 60 percent of consumer complaints to the CPSC were made by Floridians. Homes built or remodeled between 2001 and 2008 are at risk of containing Chinese drywall.

Chinese drywall allegedly emits unpleasant and potentially harmful sulfur gasses that not only corrode metal found throughout homes, in air conditioners and household appliances, but may adversely affect residents’ health. Common complaints from consumers with homes believed to contain Chinese drywall have included:

  • A "rotten egg" smell within the home;
  • Health concerns such as irritated and itchy eyes and skin, difficulty in breathing, persistent cough, bloody noses, runny noses, recurrent headaches, sinus infection, and asthma attacks; and
  • Blackened and corroded metal components in of electrical fixtures, appliances and plumbing in the home and the frequent replacement of components in air conditioning units.

For more information, including complaint forms and how to determine if your home contains Chinese drywall, please visit http://www.DrywallResponse.gov. The Florida Department of Health’s Self-Assessment Guide includes photos of the blacked and corroded metal components in homes believed to be caused by Chinese drywall. The Self-Assessment Guide is located at: http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/community/indoor-air/inspections.html.

The Attorney General has also cautioned Florida homeowners affected by Chinese drywall to avoid scams related to the situation. At least two types of fraudulent activity involving the defective drywall have been reported to the Attorney General’s Office by individuals in the building industry – bogus tests to determine the presence of the product and quick cure remedies which falsely claim to remove the corrosive properties of the product. A homeowner can determine if defective drywall is present in his or her home by asking the homebuilder or a qualified air conditioner technician to conduct a professional visual inspection.

Homeowners should be aware of and attempt to avoid the following scams which builders have reported to the Attorney General’s Office:

  • Sale of bogus test kits. These can be expensive, often costing thousands of dollars, and are generally ineffective. The presence of defective imported drywall can only be determined through visual inspection.
  • Solicited home inspections costing thousands of dollars by “experts” with no apparent qualification. Homeowners should beware of cold calls and door-to-door solicitors.
  • Sale of sprays and applications which allegedly claim to miraculously cure the corrosion problem. Not only are these products ineffective, the addition of moisture may accelerate the corrosion problem.
  • Sale of ozone generators. Ozone will actually increase the chemical reaction between the drywall and copper and the corrosion will be accelerated.
Consumers who wish to file a complaint about these scams may do so by calling the Attorney General’s fraud hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) or by filing a complaint online at http://myfloridalegal.com.