Monday, March 23, 2009
Carmel on the Case: Drywall
New details following a Seven News Investigation. Florida's Health Department is weighing in on what some homeowners are calling dangerous drywall, which is being blamed for some health issues. Seven's Carmel Cafiero has the latest.
WSVN -- Mike Foreman: "Take a deep breath. It's your last fresh air. I can smell it."
The family that once lived in this house on Florida's west coast was forced out by the smell.
Mike Foreman: "We will only be here a few minutes."
The house smells like rotten eggs, fumes are causing pipes to corrode, and it's happening in homes throughout the state. The culprit is believed to be drywall manufactured in China. Lawsuits have been filed by homeowners who say its made them sick.
Melissa Harrell: "Coughing, sinus issues, drainage, waking up with sore throats. My husband, he'd gotten headaches and both of my kids seem to be sick all of the time with either sinus infections or breathing issues, things like that."
The state is working with the federal government to study the issue. A preliminary report indicates the Chinese drywall contains higher levels of sulfuric and organic compounds than an American sample. However, the Florida Department of Health says just because copper pipes are being affected, humans may not be.
Dr. David Krause, Florida Department of Health: "The impact on the human respiratory system is going to be different than it is on copper. The human respiratory system has many other immune systems to help protect us, whereas copper doesn't."
However, the state is still investigating and a team is being sent to South Florida.
Dr. David Krause: "But we are looking at the actual concentrations in homes in the following months and hope to determine if we're experiencing concentrations that would result in human health effects."
For Florida's struggling housing industry, this is a terrible situation.
Edie Ousley, Florida Home-builders Association: "You know, this is another example like the tainted toothpaste or the dog food with melamine."
Builders say they are victims too and the fix for homes with the suspect drywall could be to tear out the walls, and that would be a huge expense.
Edie Ousley: "It's very unfortunate that a product that is defective made its way into the US."
Tens of thousands of homes built in the boom years of 2005 and 2006 could be affected. Lawsuits over the Chinese drywall have been filed from Florida to Louisiana.
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