Journalism in the Public Interest


Habitat for Humanity’s Chinese Drywall Problem Surfaces in Florida

Habitat for Humanity's Chinese drywall problem extends beyond the homes it built in New Orleans into homes it built in Lee County, Fla., our partners at the Sarasota Herald-Tribune report.

As many as 35 Habitat homes in Lee County could have defective drywall in them, Katharine Green, the president and chief executive of the Lee County branch of Habitat for Humanity told the Herald-Tribune. So far, Habitat has confirmed that at least 24 of the 35 were built with the defective board.

Green said the drywall was donated in 2006 by New Mexico-based importer International Materials Trading. Habitat's national headquarters in Georgia brokered the donation, Green said.

In July, ProPublica and the Herald-Tribune reported that several dozen homes in the New Orleans area were built with the defective drywall and that the local Habitat chapter had ignored complaints from homeowners for over a year. After the story, Habitat for Humanity International, the Atlanta-based parent organization, said it established an internal task force to research defective Chinese drywall. But the parent organization didn't disclose that it helped get a donation of Chinese drywall in Florida.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Tainted Drywall

Tainted Drywall: How Companies Kept Silent While Homeowners Suffered

Foul air from Chinese-made drywall has created a nightmare for thousands of homeowners.

The Story So Far

ProPublica and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune began examining in May 2010 what was—or wasn’t—being done to help people whose homes had been built with contaminated drywall. The problematic drywall, much of it imported from China, emitted foul odors and frequently caused mysterious failures of new appliances and electronics. Worse yet, some residents complained of serious respiratory problems, bloody noses, and migraines.
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