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Archive for June 3rd, 2009

By Richie Gerber

chinese drywall2Most of us have heard all the stories on U.S. Water Boarding. But have you heard about the Chinese Wall Boarding of thousands of US citizens? Outrageous you might be saying but please hear me out. Thousands of US citizens are truly being tortured by Chinese Wall Boarding today, which is destroying their health, wealth and future.

Chinese Wall Boarding was most prevalent from 2004-2007.  It has its basis in the housing boom as well as several “acts of god”. These “acts of god” were the active 2004 hurricane season in Florida and then in 2005 the devastating hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Louisiana. The combination of these events created a huge building boom that in turn swelled the demand for wallboard, a key component in buildings, beyond the production capacity of U.S. producers. Builders started importing Chinese Wallboard in order to meet the booming demand.

So what is the connection between water boarding and Chinese Wall Boarding you may be asking? Torture!!! At this very minute hundreds of US citizens have been living a tortured life in buildings that have Chinese Wallboard aka drywall, sheetrock, gypsum. Victims have been crying for help and yet most Americans do not even know what is going on. The U.S. Government is not acting swiftly or effectively to end the torture. I think the EPA has a plan to make a plan. When Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) wrote a letter on this mater to the EPA in early February he did not receive a reply back until almost two months later! I guess they were planning to make a plan on how to write a letter to a Senator.

This Chinese Wallboard is different than its American Counterpart. Homeowners in as many as 16 states from Florida to Louisiana to Virginia and Washington, DC have been affected–over 100,000 homes nationally with almost 50,000 in Florida alone. All these homes were built using Chinese Wallboard and the victims have very similar complaints–a strong smell of “rotten eggs”, chronic health problems, air conditioning, electrical and plumbing problems as well as financial hardships. Is this starting to sound like torture yet?

Health complaints from victims include frequent nosebleeds, recurring headaches, asthma attacks, respiratory distress as well as skin and eye irritation. As a mater of fact some pediatricians have requested parents keep kids out of these toxic homes. Imagine how you would feel finding out that your dream house is in fact toxic to you and your kid’s health.

The smell of sulfur permeates these homes. Many Chinese Wallboard homes smell like “rotten eggs” because the wallboard has sulfur in the gypsum. Think of wallboard as a sandwich. An outer layer of heavy paperboard with a filling of the mineral gypsum sandwiched in between them. It appears that the gypsum used in this Chinese Wallboard has a higher amount of sulfur. Hence the “rotten egg” odor.. Air quality tests by the EPA have also found organic compounds similar to acrylic paint as well as Strontium. It appears that in damp and humid conditions this Chinese Wallboard offgases creating a cacophony of toxic gasses.

Another problem that many of these affected homes have is the unusually high deterioration of A/C equipment, plumbing and electrical systems. Many of these homes have gone through multiple A/C units as the condensers and compressors rot out. In this day and age this type of equipment should last for years and years but some people have replaced theirs multiple times. Typically copper turns green with age, which is natural. In these homes the copper water pipes, electrical wires turn black and then rot out. You can see how dangerous this is.

Who owns these homes? Young couples, some with kids some without, retirees, singles, and all kinds of folks like you and me, that’s who. What do you do if you start to feel sick or the doctor tells you to keep your kids out of that house? You can’t abandon it since you have your life savings tied up in it and the bank expects to receive your mortgage payment in a timely fashion. You purchased the house at the top of the market and now the market is at the bottom so you risk loosing your shirt if you sell now. You must disclose to any potential buyer the problems associated with the house. Having a “rotten egg” smell does not make it any easier to sell either. And what bank is going to put out a new loan on a place that has recurring mechanical problems. These innocent victims are being Chinese Wall Boarded.

I have an idea! How about shutting the A/C’s, turning on all the fans and opening up all the windows. This will air out the place over time. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! In fact opening up the windows makes the situation even worse. Can you imagine that these people should not open their windows since that will increase the humidity and exacerbate the problem? So now the torture victims are confined to a stinky, toxic environment and cannot let fresh air into their torture chamber since that will make things worse. They have to watch as their physical, emotional and financial health rot away.

Epp-BEE-Log: The US Government has not identified this as the tragedy it is. The Consumer Products Safety Commission and the EPA have been dragging their feet and using all of the typical gobbledy-gook lingo to explain why they have not acted swiftly. Where is FEMA? Where is the outrage? Where is the help? Right now at this very moment, as you read this article fellow Americans are suffering from Chinese Wallboarding.

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