Congress has passed a bill that would prevent Chinese drywall from entering the United States.
The tainted drywall has been blamed for corroding pipes and causing breathing problems in thousands of homes in Florida and 38 other states. U.S officials have banned the importation and distribution of drywall and the reuse of drywall already here.
Sponsored by a Florida congressman, the bill bans high-sulfur building products and has raised hopes that homeowners will be able to bring Chinese manufacturers to court to recover the cost of replacing the drywall. The bill also facilitates a meeting between U.S officials and Chinese drywall makers, insisting that the Chinese government order these companies to submit to U.S jurisdiction.
The bill also requires that drywall made in the country or imported be labeled and meet industry standards that limit the amount of sulfur.
Thousands of homeowners have already filed suits, with 7,000 to 10,000 homes suffering damage due to defective drywall. Chinese manufacturers, such as Taishan Gypsum, have been claiming that U.S courts have no jurisdiction over the company since the drywall was sold through other companies in the states. However, a Louisiana judge recently ruled in September 2012 that the Chinese manufacturer was responsible for its defective product. Many homes in Florida and Louisiana were built using the tainted drywall following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
This bill will prevent more unsafe drywall from entering the market, and make Chinese manufacturers responsible for their defective products. The bill is awaiting final approval from President Obama.
Source: The Sun Sentinel, "Congress acts on Chinese drywall," Jan. 3, 2013.