The strange history of DDT
More details on the tainted Chinese drywall matter are starting to emerge

Your tax dollars at work (?) on Chinese drywall

On May 25th, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a news release entitled "CPSC Identifies Manufacturers of Problem Drywall Made in China."

Here are the first three paragraphs of the release:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is releasing today the names of the drywall manufacturers whose drywall emitted high levels of hydrogen sulfide in testing conducted for the agency by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). There is a strong association between hydrogen sulfide and metal corrosion.

Of the samples tested, the top ten reactive sulfur-emitting drywall samples were all produced in China. Some of the Chinese drywall had emission rates of hydrogen sulfide 100 times greater than non-Chinese drywall samples.

"Homeowners who have problem drywall in their homes are suffering greatly", said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "I appeal to these Chinese drywall companies to carefully examine their responsibilities to U.S. families who have been harmed and do what is fair and just."

Testing data, representative of 30 different manufacturer/year of manufacture samples, showing emissions rates for hydrogen sulfide, carbonyl sulfide, sulfur dioxide, methyl mercaptan, dimethyl sulfide, ethyl mercaptan, and carbon disulfide are presented in a chart issued on May 27th.

In terms of hydrogen sulfide emissions, the first American-made product does not appear until the 13th position on the list. CPSC is careful to label anything significant as "draft," implying that a final report will be issued, although I was unable to get any information on when that might happen.

Likewise, the agency uses the craven language "...strong association between hydrogen sulfide and metal corrosion," even though it is beyond any doubt that hydrogen sulfide, along with other compounds, is causing the corrosion problems observed in homes constructed with the tainted drywall.

Two big questions are raised by these "draft" findings...

1.     Three samples are presented from Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co., Ltd. The sample from 2005 tops the list with hydrogen sulfide emissions of 203.27 µg/m2/h (micrograms per square meter per hour).

But, the sample from 2009 does much better at 4.99, and the sample from 2006 is still a killer at 118.83.

Inasmuch as officials from China and the US met in Beijing to discuss problem drywall on May 24-25 (according to the news release), you would think that someone could have asked for an explanation of the radical improvements in Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Company's product. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that such details could go a long way in explaining what caused the problem in the first place.

2.     The press release proudly touts that "To date, CPSC has spent over $5 million to investigate the chemical nature and the chain of commerce of problem drywall." I would ask how much of this work has actually helped the affected consumer.

So far, the only items of any use to a consumer would be the agency's identification and remediation guidelines. Ironically, if the cost of developing these guidelines is included in the $5 million figure, it would be a pittance, since much of this material had been freely available, long before the CPSC published its version.

Moreover, the remediation guidelines are woefully incomplete in that they do not call for any sort of residual surface treatment to be done to the home before new drywall is installed. It is well known that the corrosion problems can reappear in new drywall if the underlying concrete and studs are not properly treated.

The agency alludes to this—weakly—but escapes making any judgment as follows...

The Task Force does not have a scientific basis for evaluating the need for such steps, but homeowners should consider these options as they seek to make an informed decision in their particular situation.

Can't CPSC do any better than the "We need more data" gambit?

A noted building materials consultant asked me why CPSC farmed out the lab work to Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. I explained that the prestige of LBNL would prevent most people from criticizing the efforts. I guess I'm not "most people."

Methodology details on the LBNL efforts are provided in a report entitled "CPSC Staff Preliminary Evaluation of Drywall Chamber Test Results," from March, 2010. It is only in this document that one finds out that

Drywall samples provided to LBNL by CPSC were collected by CPSC staff from manufacturers, drywall suppliers and storage warehouses... These 30 drywall samples were not obtained from individual homes, and were unfinished...

Talk about starting off on the wrong foot. The problems caused by tainted drywall occur in houses, and not warehouses. Certainly it was easier to get the material from sources other than the affected private homes, but how representative would the samples be of the real world problems?

Good science requires that the samples chosen be representative of the problem being studied. To obtain them elsewhere was feckless, and betrays ivory tower/academic science at its worst.

Still, we have plenty of data, obtained at great expense. What can we do with it? I have no idea, so I posed that question to the agency. Hold onto your hats for the reply.

We're hoping that the release of this information (the drywall emission rates) will encourage the Chinese government to come to some settlement with the affected American consumers.

You can't make this stuff up.

In the meantime, neither CPSC nor any other agency has addressed the number one issue. Since 95 percent of affected homeowners cannot afford remediation, are there alternative measures that can be taken?

Don't hold your breath for any official body to step forward on that one.



Mr. Shaw ...

Your direct, factual, and to the point approach is very refreshing ...

Truly showing and expressing your passion for Chinese drywall victims ...

Most if not ALL people or groups in the media, dance around issues or fail to address the real problems and obstacles ...

Your statements about the CPSC resonated in my head ...

Charts showing improved out-gassing (OVER 90% LESS) on specific manufacturers from their 2006 vintage board to 2009 vintage board should warrant specific questions ...



All serious factors and info that might just help explain the one question no one has answered to my knowledge ...


My real concern ... the MONEY being spent (5 million) to tell me that testing confirmed improved out-gassing levels occurred on boards that were not installed or not from structures experiencing the issues, to numerous to mention, associated with this issue.

The Chinese drywall problem surfaced over 2 YEARS ago, MDL cases have clearly validated the source ... DRYWALL ... when can the consumer expect answers, validated corrective treatment guidelines, and most importantly ...


I'm not talking about "judgements" and "hollow legal victories" I'm talking about actual CASH MONEY !!!

Please know you are not alone ... just remember ... finding the answers, confirmed, and field validated, solutions, including how to FUND the required abatement, treatment, and re-construction for the affected consumers, appears to be LOW PRIORITY, if a priority at all.

Please keep preaching the GOSPEL ... the congregation is listening and wanting answers ... YESTERDAY !!!

Michael S. Foreman
Construction Consultants
Consumer Advocates
Actively involved with tainted drywall solutions ... Since August 2008

Thomas Lukaszewski

Michael Foreman could you possibly tell me when did the drywall surface in Florida. As I had purchased a brand new home built in 2007 but purchased in November of 2008. And I can tell you I know more about chinese drywall then I want to know. Why time frame is of interest because I believe the realtor and bank who conducted this transaction knew. In light that I was 1100 miles away I knew nothing. Please respond



This has been a common question ...

Sad but true ...

Banks and Realtors have not all been forth coming

with info, facts, and previous inspection reports.

Mostly when houses are sold "AS IS" with little or

no inspection clause or recourse ...

To answer your first question ...

You have a good possibility of being infected.

Material was still being sold and installed, until

mid to late ... 2008

Hard to believe but true.

Who was your Builder, Contractor, or Developer ???

Where is the house located ???

You can contact me direct ...

Cell ... 941-416-8111

Michael S. Foreman

Foreman and Associates, Inc.
"Construction Consultants"
2511 Bee Ridge Rd
Sarasota, Florida 34239
Phone: 941-955-8111
Fax:   941-362-4999

[email protected]



The Building Envelope Science Institute (BESI) endorsed a remediation protocol back in October 2009 that more than exceeds the recommendations by the CPSC & HUD interim remediation guidance and is aligned with the court's ruling in the MDL-2047 litigation case (and even more comprehensive).

The protocol offered through BESI provides (to-date) the most comprehensive remediation process and was developed based on proven science; nicknamed the “BESI System” because of the institute’s endorsement. The protocol for remediation of defective drywall being offered by BESI considers the following major factors: corrosion, cross-contamination of other building materials, personal belongings, IAQ monitoring program, a proposed national warranty (not an insurance policy), and removal of the stigma from having defective “corrosive” drywall.

In fact, the institute has been certifying qualified candidates for inspection and remediation of structures with defective drywall since last year. Those that have earned a designation as a remediator or consultant through the institute have attended a two-day course with a written final exam; inspectors attend a one-day course with a written final exam. There are prerequisites they have to meet, which includes being in good standing with the state if they are licensed (required for those performing remediation).

It’s good to know that if your home was remediated under this protocol that it would not require more work in order to meet the CPSC & HUD interim guidance. The Institute has a document that helps explain the protocol called, “The BESI System: Understanding the Protocols for Defective Drywall” which is posted on the website. The Institute has a “Nationwide Directory” that currently allows individuals to locate BESI certified inspectors and remediators for defective drywall.

More information about the protocols and requirements can be found at

Michael Shaw


Thanks for the info. Your efforts are appreciated, but underscore the sad fact that the Feds have been AWOL on drywall.

Isn't it ironic that a government that is more than willing to regulate anything and everything seems to fail repeatedly when the hard-working taxpayer and consumer is seriously affected?

Bernie Madoff? Goldman Sachs? Gulf oil spill? Numerous harmful drugs supposedly tested by FDA? DOJ not investigating WCI/Banner Supply matter?

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