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China Refuses to Compensate for Chinese Drywall Problems

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Washington, DCThe pressure on Chinese drywall manufacturers to come clean, if you will, about the environmental toxicity of its tainted plasterboard has been ratcheted up of late with the visit to China in recent days of Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum, and the pending visit to the US of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Reuters is reporting that Tenenbaum attempted to persuade Chinese manufacturers of the problematic drywall to compensate US homeowners, only to fail. Only one of the 13 manufacturers of tainted China drywall—Germany's Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin)—had agreed to replace the vilified drywall product and rewire about 300 homes in what was described as a pilot project.

However, none of the other manufacturers agreed to come to the party in any form.

"We have not been able to get any of the Chinese manufacturers to come to the table to discuss our scientific findings and what, if any, they think their responsibility is to the American homeowner," Tenenbaum told reporters at a media briefing.

"We are still very hopeful that the Chinese companies can come to the table and let us explain what our findings are and see if they can participate in helping us make our homeowners get a remedy in getting the Chinese drywall out."

There have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,000 complaints filed with the CPSC with regard to Chinese drywall problems, the CPSC Chairwoman told Reuters. Guidelines released by the agency have demonstrated that certain samples of Chinese drywall emit hydrogen sulfide at higher levels than what is normally acceptable in the US. For many homeowners, the smell has not only made their homes uninhabitable, but raised levels of hydrogen sulfide have caused appliances such as air conditioners and refrigerators to fail.

It should be noted that China had improved its product recall performance in 2010, Tenenbaum said. That single fact might be the only good news when the President of the Republic of China, Hu Jintao, visits the US the week of January 17. Previous problems with toothpaste, tires, lead levels in children's toys and heparin have amounted to strained trade relations. However, China's clouded reputation when it comes to the quality of its exports will likely be offset by the amount of US debt China currently holds, keeping the Republic in an enviable position.

In total, Reuters says more than 5,000 homes across the US have been beset with drywall problems. Americans, already reeling from issues relating to the overall US economy, remain angry at being impacted within home and hearth. Pressure on Chinese manufacturers to pay for defective Chinese drywall extends back to March of last year, when US senators pressed Trade Representative Ron Kirk to pursue the issue.

And despite the claim of improved recall numbers, the CPSC maintains that slightly more than half of US product recalls involve China in some fashion. China drywall is but one of those products.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
There have been recalls on various products made in USA & Canada, but because of our governing systems the corporations are accountable and one way or the other the problems are usually resolved.
Our(Can & US) regulatory standards are among the best in the world.
We know that many Chinese products do not meet those standards, and don't try to.

While we have taken measures over several years to reduce or eliminate certain chemicals and meet safety standards in products that effect our population, such as the elimination of lead in paint used in toys etc. that prove hazadous to children.

China is failing in this respect. Only after a period of denial and the withdraw of these proven hazarous items from our shelves (which means no sales) does the products problem get resolved , or does it? and to what degree?.
I have become aware of the various concerns about gypsum used in drywall in the last few years, and that much of the material used is impoted from China. While American manufactuerers say made in USA, which may be true, but they don't specify that all of the product origionates in North America.
I,ve worked w/ drywall off and on for over 50 years. Names like Gyprock, Trurock, WestrocK made in US or Can. They were truly made in America.

Posted by

on
Chinese Drywall Companies??? These factories are all owned by the Peoples Republic of China!

We use language that acts as if these firms are owned by various private entities while we should recognize that there isn't any real private ownership in the PRC.

Maybe we should boycott all PRC products and buy American.

Posted by

on
This issue is not the responsibility of the homeowner. The homeowners should have been compensated by the corrupt companies and our corrupt government first. Then the government can go after china. What a scam.

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