We at Interscan are now involved in the Chinese drywall situation. For those who are unfamiliar with this very big problem, refer here for a quick introduction.
Essentially, a host of issues have been linked to drywall manufacturered in China, imported into the US starting around 2005. There is no dispute that the drywall will emit certain toxic and corrosive gases (hydrogen sulfide, carbonyl sulfide, and others), which can corrode wiring and HVAC components, and can be unhealthful—especially to sensitive individuals.
A number of testing and remediation protocols are circulating, but at this point, none has been blessed by some learned institution. such "blessing" is necessary if banks and insurance companies are ever going to approve a remediation job. That's why I am on an ASTM committee that will be looking into this, and will be having its first meeting on the topic next week.
As in all residential toxic exposures, there will be malingerers and those who overreact. And, of course, there will be lawsuits, but it is unclear as to who should be the defendant—or better put, who would be the defendant most likely to pay off.
A most troubling aspect is that the gases will permeate out of the drywall, and can be absorbed by studs, concrete, and household goods. Sadly, the bulk of this situation is occurring in Florida, already hit with a stunning drop in real estate values, and tainted homes make it even worse.
Some contractors are claiming excellent results with their remediation methods, but these procedures are very expensive, and are not covered by any insurance. More than that, most odor-laden household goods will either have to be separately treated or simply discarded.
The posture of government is frankly not encouraging, since they fear that a huge bailout is in the making. Therefore, they are hyper-analyzing the situation in terms of testing the materials, but have done precious little testing of affected homes. There have been several photo op visits by government officials to affected homes, however.
Where Interscan comes in is that any "clearance" of a house for re-occupancy will involve gas detection.
A solution may be at hand in terms of chlorine dioxide treatment—similar to what was used on anthrax-contaminated buildings. We will keep you informed.