Q: A friend is having his home renovated because of defective Chinese drywall. What harm does the defective drywall cause to the home or occupants?
A: Chinese drywall refers to drywall imported from China from 2001 to 2007 that emits sulfur gases, which often create a noxious odor and can corrode copper and other metal surfaces, damaging HVAC systems, electrical wiring, copper plumbing and other appliances. Reportedly, prolonged exposure to certain other hazardous compounds that have been detected in Chinese drywall can cause potential health effects. Potential hazards to chronic exposure include poor bone development in children, adverse affects to the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, eyes, kidneys, liver and skin. However, experts disagree whether defective drywall poses a serious health hazard. According to the Florida Department of Health, the levels found in Chinese drywall are not high enough to present “an imminent or chronic health hazard at this time.” In general, the noxious odor and corrosive effects of the chemicals on copper and metal are enough to justify a home renovation.