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calendar   Sunday - March 22, 2009

Will They Never Learn?

Chinese Drywall Ruins House Wiring All Across The South?




Officials are looking into claims that Chinese-made drywall installed in some Florida homes is emitting smelly, corrosive gases and ruining household systems such as air conditioners, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says.

The Florida Health Department, which is investigating whether the drywall poses any health risks, said it has received more than 140 homeowner complaints. And class-action lawsuits allege defective drywall has caused problems in at least three states—Florida, Louisiana and Alabama—while some attorneys involved claim such drywall may have been used in tens of thousands of U.S. homes.

Homeowners’ lawsuits contend the drywall has caused them to suffer health problems such as headaches and sore throats and face huge repair expenses.

The drywall is alleged to have high levels of sulfur and, according to homeowners’ complaints, the sulfur-based gases smell of rotten eggs and corrode piping and wiring, causing electronics and appliances to fail.

“It’s economically devastating, and it’s emotionally devastating,” said Florida attorney Ervin A. Gonzalez, who filed one of the lawsuits. It would cost a third of an affected home’s value to fix the dwelling, Gonzalez said.

“The interior has to be gutted, the homeowners have to continue paying mortgages, and they have to pay for a [temporary] place to live,” Gonzalez said.

The CPSC has been investigating claims in Florida for more than a month, according to commission spokesman Joe Martyak. He would not confirm whether CPSC is checking other states or reveal how many cases it is probing.

The Florida complaints generally involve homes built or renovated in 2005 and 2006, when a building boom and post-hurricane reconstruction caused a U.S. drywall shortage that spurred builders to turn to imports, Martyak said.

The allegations come after a number of recent safety problems with other Chinese exports, ranging from toys to pet food.

“The breadth of this thing is a lot bigger than people think,” said Chaikin of the Parker Waichman Alonso law firm in Bonita Springs. Chaikin said the problem is perhaps more easily recognizable in Florida because humidity exacerbates it.



Marvelous. Another poorly made product imported from communist China that turns out to be dangerous. Gosh, is it just me, or is everything made in China a crapshoot? Save a dollar, lose your health. Or your house. Wake up cheapskates! It’s simply not worth it. Don’t buy things made in China.




What the heck is drywall anyway, and why are we importing it?

Drywall is two layers of cardboard with a layer of gypsum between them. It is a wonderfully “green” product. The cardboard is made from recycled newspaper. The gypsum can either be mined, collected as a by-product of other chemical manufacturing processes, or even scraped from the air scrubbers in the smokestacks of coal fired power plants.

Where does it come from naturally? Huge amounts in the US and Canada. Lots of it in Europe. Some in Pakistan and Iran and Indonesia. None in China.

Ok, so what is gypsum? Gypsum is the same stuff as classroom chalk. It’s the same stuff as alabaster. Gypsum is very closely related to the burnt lime used in concrete. Heck, gypsum is used in concrete. Specifically,

Gypsum is the more common name for a mineral compound called calcium sulphate dihydroxide, or sulphate of lime. Gypsum is generally found underground near deposits of limestone or other minerals formed by evaporation. One of the most common forms of raw gypsum is a pure white crystal called alabaster.
...
Because the calcium and sulphur molecules in gypsum are chemically bound to water, gypsum is routinely heated in order to remove 50% to 75% of its original moisture. The resulting powder is considered burnt gypsum, although its white or translucent color does not change. Burnt gypsum is valued for its ability to solidify almost immediately after introduction to water.
...
Gypsum is naturally resistant to fire and heat, which helps it form a barrier between combustible wooden frames and the room itself.

The primary component of drywall is the mineral gypsum. It is a light-density rock found in plentiful deposits worldwide. Each molecule of gypsum (or dihydrous calcium sulfate) is composed of two molecules of water (H20) and one of calcium sulfate (CaSO4). By weight the compound is 21% water, but by volume it is nearly 50% water.

Before mixing the gypsum with water, it has to be calcined, which is a roasting process that drives off extra oxygen. It’s the same process that is used to turn limestone into lime (aka burnt lime) which is the basis for concrete.

So the stuff has sulpher in it, big deal. We mine the stuff, millions of tons of it a year. But you can create it in the lab too, by the very simple act of mixing sulphuric acid and chalk. This creates lots of carbonic acid fumes, but the solid stuff left over is gypsum. If you are a smart chemist, you condense that gas and mix it with more crushed lime, and that produces chalk. It’s easy to see that sulpher dioxide (SO2) could get into the mix, either because the raw gypsum used is poor quality, or the chemical reaction was poorly controlled, or the wrong kind of acid used.

So my guess is that the Chinese drywall was made with typical communist piss-poor quality control. IE, none at all. Any old shit thrown into a cardboard sandwich. And they probably got the cardboard from the shipping boxes that they used for nuclear waste. All kidding aside, it’s not worth the risk, even with such a basic product as drywall. Burnt rock paste between two slices of tree pulp. And they screwed that up too.

Buy American.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/22/2009 at 09:37 AM   
Filed Under: • Big BusinessCommiesScience-Technology •  
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