NAHB Supports Government Efforts on Chinese Drywall
NAHB told Congress on May 21 that the nation’s home builders are determined to play a constructive role in resolving the Chinese-made drywall issue.
The drywall in question is believed to have been imported into the U.S. between 2005 and 2008 and is alleged to contain high levels of sulfur and/or other contaminants that are emitting foul odors in homes that have used the material.
Testifying on behalf of NAHB before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Insurance, New Orleans area builder Randy Noel said that NAHB members are continuing to work on a daily basis to respond to home owners who are reporting problems with Chinese drywall.
“As builders, we live or die by our reputation. Home building is a very competitive business and a builder who does not pay attention to quality, value and customer service won’t be in business very long,” said Noel.
To resolve the situation, Noel said that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and other federal agencies must inform home owners, builders, remodelers and contractors on identifying the source of the problem so that it will not be repeated and also provide a reliable test for drywall problems and an appropriate method of remediation.
“We believe that the best possible scenario would be for a national consensus to be developed on these issues based on the work currently being done by the federal government,” said Noel.
“NAHB supports the CPSC’s current efforts to identify the actual scientific cause of the problem and develop an appropriate testing protocol to identify problematic drywall,” he said. “Once the cause is identified and a testing protocol is established, it will greatly help builders identify potential home owners who may have problems.”
Congress should also explore ways to identify possible sources of funding to help offset the costs of remediation, he said, particularly if it is determined that the ultimate responsibility lies with manufacturing entities located in China.
Introduced by Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.), S. 739, the Drywall Safety Act of 2009, would mandate that the CPSC, National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Environmental Protection Agency conduct a study of Chinese drywall to determine its effects on metal wiring, HVAC units and other metal fixtures. The study would also assess the potential health impacts from exposure to the product.
Of concern to NAHB, the bill would seek to ban the sale of any drywall product in the U.S. that contains more than 5% organic compounds by weight.
Noel noted that in many cases the organic compounds in the paper backing of the drywall alone could exceed the 5% limit, regardless of the content of the drywall’s core.
“We urge the subcommittee and the bill sponsors to investigate other ways in which to target the drywall that is of concern, without potentially banning all drywall produced in the U.S.,” he said.
To read the legislation, click here and enter S. 739 in the box at the center of the page.