WASHINGTON -- The Chinese Drywall Complaint Center (CDCC) has expanded the scope of its watchdog initiatives to include furniture and building products made in China.
The new direction is occuring after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a report that failed to link "problem drywall" to health problems.
The Chinese Drywall Complaint Center said it has sought help from the Obama Administration for "100,000s of innocent U.S. homeowners" in Florida and the Southeast, "who are stuck in a toxic Chinese drywall home."
The CDCC's newest initiatives will focus on potentially toxic or defective Chinese building products, including windows, plus furniture, "especially leather sofas."
"We are currently involved in a variety of investigations involving defective Chinese building products, primarily focused on toxic Chinese drywall, blank toxic drywall, that we assume was made in China... Unfortunately, as a byproduct of our investigations involving imported defective, or toxic Chinese building products, we have just become aware of imported toxic Chinese furniture."
The CDCC said it recently received a "disturbing call" from a Florida homeowner who claimed her $3,000 Chinese leather sofa made her and her husband sick."
Over the past couple of years, the CDCC has pressed the U.S. government to do something about "toxic" Chinese drywall, which the CDCC has caused many homeowners to become ill.
A recent joint study on problem drywall by the CPSC and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)"found no evidence of microbiological activity or a microbiological source of sulfur-gas emissions from gypsum rock or problem drywall, including samples taken from affected homes."
The study did, however, conclude that the drywall did corrode piping, posing a "substantial product safety hazard." CPSC and HUD issued guidance calling for the replacement of all problem drywall; smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms; and electrical distribution components.
CPSC said it has received 3.905 reports from residents "who believe their health symptoms or the corrosion of certain metal components in their homes are related to problem drywall." CPSC added that it believes there may be as many as 6,300 U.S. homes with problem drywall, representing a small fraction of what the CDCC asserts.
The joint study included input and testing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as members of the Federal Interagency Task Force on Problem Drywall. In addition, CPSC and HUD said agency representatives met with "deeply-impacted homeowners," developed contracts to research and test problem drywall, visited Chinese mines and manufacturers, hosted a public website to keep the public informed about new developments, and devoted thousands of staff hours and millions of dollars to these activities.
As part of the effort to determine if there were any health or safety effects associated with problem drywall, the agency contracted with several technical organizations, including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Environmental Health & Engineering Inc. (EH&E), Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), NIST, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
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