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Do Florida residents need to worry about Chinese drywall?

Now that this year’s particularly bad hurricane season has passed, many Florida residents are breathing a sigh of relief. Whether their homes made it through unscathed or they are facing significant repairs, homeowners should take note of the potential problems that could occur if demand results in a shortage of domestic materials.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that after the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons that devastated thousands of homes in several states along the East Coast, the repairs and rebuilding that followed resulted in a shortage of domestically manufactured drywall. To cope with the demand, contractors had to obtain drywall from overseas. Drywall that came from China, which they used in thousands of repair jobs in Florida and other eastern states, has reportedly caused serious problems. In fact, Florida was the area most significantly affected by Chinese drywall problems, with 56 percent of claims originating from the Sunshine State.

The Chinese drywall in question contained the chemical hydrogen sulfide, which leaches into the air inside the home. Experts claim this chemical is responsible for the following issues:

  • Corroding plumbing pipes and metal wiring
  • Damaging major appliances, such as air conditioning units and refrigerators
  • Causing such health issues as asthma, irritated eyes, coughing, sore throats and nosebleeds
  • Mysterious health problems lessening away from the home but becoming worse when residents return home

Homeowners and contractors are yet uncertain whether the rebuilding from 2018’s hurricane season will result in another shortage of drywall made in the U.S. However, home buyers should be aware of the potential problems involving substandard materials if they are considering a home that was rebuilt after sustaining storm damage, especially if they experience issues with their appliances, plumbing or health. 

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