Saturday, April 18, 2009

More poisons from China: poisonous walls?

If the contaminated foods and drugs don't get you, the drywall will:

Not-so-great wall of China: Imported drywall could be toxic
[...] Florida homeowners have complained that the drywall in their homes, which was imported from China, is not only giving off a foul odor like sulfer, but is also emitting corrosive gases that are destroying home appliances. There's one documented case of the sulfide gases from this drywall rotting the copper coils of an air conditioner.

So you can just imagine what it's doing to people's lungs.

In fact, some homeowners with this drywall have already filed lawsuits against builders and suppliers, claiming that they're not only surrounded with walls smelling of rotten eggs, but that they're also suffering from sore throats and headaches as a result.

The rotten egg smell is no surprise. The Chinese drywall has large amounts of sulfer in it. In the U.S., the chief component of drywall is gypsum. It's just a shot in the dark, but I'm guessing the reason there could be high levels of sulfer in the Chinese drywall is that sulfer is cheaper than gypsum.

The Chinese drywall entered the country during a building material shortage from 2004 to 2007 (spurred by the rebuilding boom in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina), so the homes using it were completed recently. [...]

It seems that the heat and moisture in Florida literally bring out the worst in the Chinese drywall. At one point, the writer advises "don't buy anything from China". Yeah right, easier said than done. Practically everything that is manufactured nowadays comes from China.

And the truth is, not all their stuff is bad. But you do have to be careful. I don't knowingly buy any food stuffs that come from China. When it comes to appliances or consumer electronics and that sort of thing, I do some research first. Contaminated drywall was something I had never considered, but I guess I will have to add that to "the list".

We have a trade imbalance with China. They need us to buy their products, and we need to buy them. But if we only buy the good stuff, hopefully they will get the message eventually and only make good stuff for us to buy. Hopefully. For our sake and theirs.

Of course, we could cut our corporate taxes and bring those manufacturing jobs home, but I don't see that happening any time soon. In fact, the opposite is happening. So for better or worse, we are going to be dealing with China for quite a long time, I think. I'm hoping for "better".

No comments: