ProPublica

Journalism in the Public Interest

Cancel

Senators Call on CPSC to Allow Public Comment on New Drywall Fix

Senators say homeowners suffering through “the nightmare of problem drywall” deserve more information about how the homes can best be repaired.

.

(CPSC)

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., have called on the Consumer Product Safety Commission to allow the public to comment on the agency's controversial new drywall remediation protocol.

"These protocols are an important piece of the solution for the thousands of homeowners across the country, especially in our home states of Florida and Virginia, suffering through the nightmare of problem drywall," the senators said in a letter to the commission on Wednesday. "The decisions homeowners make in response to these protocols will have a bearing on the future value and insurability of their homes. With such economically-significant decisions in the balance, it is critical that your agencies get this decision right for homeowners."

As ProPublica and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported last week, the guidelines shocked and confused people whose homes were built with tainted drywall, because they reverse the CPSC's earlier recommendation that all wiring inside the affected homes be removed. The new guidelines also conflict with those issued last year by U.S. District Court Judge Eldon E. Fallon as part of the drywall litigation he is presiding over in federal court in New Orleans.

Sulfur gas from the drywall has lead to the corrosion of copper wiring, causing air conditioners, refrigerators and other electronics to break down. A database compiled by ProPublica and the Herald-Tribune shows that nearly 7,000 homeowners have filed lawsuits or asked for property tax adjustments, saying they have been affected by contaminated drywall.

Richard Kampf, a homeowner in Lee County and a former chief of staff for the Environmental Protection Agency in Philadelphia, has advocated furiously for an opportunity to voice his concerns about the new protocol. He spoke with Sen. Nelson's staff earlier this week about his belief that the CPSC had violated federal rules by releasing its protocol without public comment.

"I want them to understand the confusion that homeowners are going through when we get three or four different protocols," Kampf said Wednesday. "From day one, I've said there has to be clear and consistent guidelines."

The senators' letter urges the CPSC and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to seek public comment on the protocol and to arrange a public meeting with homeowners to discuss it.

The CPSC did not immediately return phone calls for comment on this story.

This is just another scandal that big business is trying to cover-up or to mitigate in some and lay off onto the victims.

There was a time in America when the government wasn’t owned by poltical contributors but as the media has raised its influence on who is elected and the elected have such opportunities for personal gains, all bets are off.

It was only a matter of time that we would see the true agenda of the federal agency investigating this toxic nightmare. America needs to wake up to the fact that goverment is owned and operated for the select
business community and procedes to help their agenda for political gain. America is being sold out at best. When diaster strikes and you turn your back on the general public it is time to adjust your line of thinking as who you elect in office. When the public is subjected to gas chamber living in their own home where are our top political leaders. They won’t even mention the issue, for fear they may not be able to do anything about it, or just don"t care because they are a member of the elite group. Where is the criminal investagation into the companies and the owners who hid the diaster, made their money and then denied responsibility. And in turn left homeowners holding the bag.
The untold diaster continues to ruin peoples homes and financial wellbeing as our elected officials and staff sit buy with their new found remediation programs.I would truly like to know how much money are we going to spend on this CDW diaster and continue to get no end result. Are the manufactuers going to reinburse the American Taxpayers for their wrong doing, along with putting CDW homeowners
back to were they where before they got intangled in this CDW diaster.

Our family has been ruined by this Chinese Drywall nightmare. Because of replacements and damages, my husband and I who are both full time educators - must also work part-time jobs too. We cannot walk away from our home - We are stuck financially paying a mortgage and cannot afford rent on top of it. Half of our 4,000 sq ft house does not work electrically. All the wires are black. I wholeheartedly agree with Tommy above. We - hard working families - have been ripped of our American dream and must drag our three children - one being an infant through health problems and constant stress - all while elected officials and government do nothing to help us. It’s heartbreaking.

I am amazed at all the short-sightedness.  First, it is not just hydrogen sulfide gas in your homes.  Tests show levels (in the 80’s and 90’s were found in mine) of strontium, a radioactive gas, which I implore you all to look up.  Also, carbonyl sulfide.  All 3 have different “lives” and can be very serious.  Unless you have meters of some kind measuring the levels all the time, you are living in a time bomb, with your body being one as well.  Then, even getting remediation does not ensure that your insurance company will keep you insured.  And “lender’s insurance” can be graciously given, but that is about $1000 a month, which of course, we can’t pay. Then there is every item in your life and in your home, off gassing to your car—what about each and every thing?
No one has even given ANY ANSWERS with all of that.  The thousands I have lost and had to spend on replacing items is horrific.  Talking to agencies, of all kinds, government, CPSC (they couldn’t even look us in the face or answer questions intelligently when they met with a group of us in Sarasota, FL) has not really helped any of us in 2 years!  Truth is:  By now, there would have been aid, problem resolution on all fronts if any of them cared, were human, and had some integrity!! I still want to know if any thing can be confidently kept or salvaged.  After 2 years, I threw out almost everything.  Don’t you think someone could have helped to give me an answer?  The media did nothing either, except run a 3-week “ad” about a guy’s dog who could sniff out the gases and let you know if you have “it”.  Well, folks, “knowing"if we have this problem was the easy part.  The rest has been almost 2 years of h—-!

The CPSC has truly let the American homeowner down on the whole Chinese drywall problem. They started out with some really high BS standard that we will investigate and let the scientific facts drive us to a reasonable conclusion. Instead of protecting the many families being harmed, the CPSC has turned its back on the very people it was established to protect.  Because this problem is much bigger than the CPSC has ever seen they are not capable of doing their job, so here we set waiting for the help and protection that will never come from the CPSC, because their minds are just too small to grasp the huge problem we have all been put in. 
As far as I’m concerned their guidance is just more bullshit from the idiots running the CPSC.  I have actually spoken to some of the CPSC employees and they were not capable of holding an intelligent conversation on the CDW problem.  Their mind set is on cribs and carpet cleaners that aren’t made to specific standards, they cannot fathom what to do for a whole house and are deathly afraid of causing any political problems with China who owns more of the US national debt than any other country in the world, yes we are owned by the very communist people that we so despised in the 50’s & 60’s.
To protect our health we took out a 150K equity loan, we didn’t divulge to the bank that we had Chinese drywall, and rebuilt our entire home for the second time. It has wiped out all of our savings and put us under horrible stress.  We are nearing retirement but we cannot overcome the financial impact this has caused to our retirement plans, so we don’t even know if we will be able to retire when that time comes.
We just pray every day that somewhere down this road Judge Fallon will find a way to help all of us, at this time he is the only government official who has actually been working to get this resolved, but he is hampered by the legal maneuvering of the people who do not want to repair our homes. Not only do we pray for him to find a way, we pray that he is blessed for not only implementing the law but being guided by his heart, he sees the problems the CDW disaster has caused families and isn’t willing to just sit on the sidelines like the CPSC.

Cape Coral Homeowner

March 28, 2011, 1:57 p.m.

I can’t believe we live in a country which won’t take care of their own. We continue to spend money everywhere else, fighting for others. How can we be a united country, with a government that doesn’t care about the people. Let’s see how they would respond if they lived in a home tainted with Chinese drywall. I will let any government official live in my home free of charge. Remember, most of the lights no longer work, air conditioner has failed again, appliances don’t work….not to mention the outlets. Wake up “Consumer Protection”...how can we not rewire these homes….Maybe live in them without electricity and use candles.

George R. Freudiger

March 29, 2011, 1:02 p.m.

Well I am also a business man…. we do work all over the country.
I have never heard of such a run for cover in my life…What are all
of our protection agencies politicians doing.

When we have any bad material that goes on a job it goes without saying…. the supplier replaces it all and the builder puts it all in, the
two of them work out the cost. Its there mistake if you are not responsible or held accountable then they should never be given
permission to ever do business in this country at all.

Please please tell me where and what is our jprotection agency doing
where is this so called protection ? from what?

I worked my whole life being a all american man raising my family
paying taxes saving so I could buy that american dream house in sunny florida. I bought it when I was 68 thinking I could retire there
at 70 well I am 70 and cant even live there.

People we need to vote and support people the ones who DO THERE JOBS… your title says consumer protection agency so tell me WHERE IS OUR PROTECTION.

Thanks for your time.

Gilbert del Toro II

March 31, 2011, 11:56 p.m.

It is just unbelievable.This is the United Stated of America correct?I have paid taxes to this country for over thirty-two years and my Dad forty something years. That is over $600,000.00 and this is the way we are treated. It is disgusting.I have been paying my mortgage and association fees for almost two years and not able to live in my house. I feel like I am in a third world country.My family and I became very ill. Plus my bank Suncoast Credit Union did not help me in any way for over a year. Then all this paperwork and lawyers. Now six months later I have to apply again to reduce my mortgage to half the monthly amount. All the while still paying the association fee etc. or lose the house.I guess money and greed are in the hands of those that are paid to protect us.It is disgusting and not right.I agree 100% with all the posts above. I guess they think we will just give up and walk away. Using time to their advantage. Plus the chinese drywall is toxic and will hurt the environment. Where are the environmentalists?Will not the water and soil be polluted? Between the toys,dog treats,etc. coming from China. They are killing us without bullets or bombs. May God, G-d seek vengeance on those that let us fail.

In Venice FL, Lennar homes and investors rebuilt the CDW homes without removing all the wiring before CPSC came up with the remediation protocol in April of, 2010. They were in dilemma as to what to do, once they rebuilt it with out changing all the wires. These builders probably were lobbying against CDW victims in the Capitol Hill and they won.
Andrew Trotter was at our house last April 22nd, for a whole day, and took samples while the CDW was being removed. SNN 6 news lady wanted to interview him and he refused. We still have all the wires removed from our house stored away except the pieces that Andrew Trotter took with him for testing.
CPSC do not have any credibility at all. It was apparent that they did not have the backbone to face the Chinese lab officials when they visited them. Until one of their family members die in a fire caused by the CDW, they are going to remain in denial. This is turning just like the story of love canal and the Mesothelyama, CPSC, HUD and CDC are in denial just to please the Capitol Hill lobbyists.
It is a shame we had to go through that and now they are changing their mind. The builders figured it out and sent lobbyists to fight for them and they won. Our major expense was removal and replacement of wiring and all the electrical components.
We had electrical arcing in our house before we removed our CDW and we reported it to CPSC. My neighbors with CDW also had the arcing and reported it to CPSC. Now they are saying in the new report that faulty wiring caused it. If that is the case, why over 900 houses here without CDW do not have the electrical arcing in their homes, and CDW home owners are the only one experiencing the electrical arching in our development built by the same builder.

I just want the problem fixed and fixed fast.  My son is a former CANCER patient and has been very sick since we have been living here.  He have had major nose bleeds and still having them and my daughter with major headaches.  This is not what we bought our first house for, to cause health issues for our children and us.  We need help and we need it NOW.  Is there anyone out there listening to us, we are hard working tax payers and we deserve answers.

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.
More »

Search Our Database for Homes With Tainted Drywall

Get Updates

Stay on top of what we’re working on by subscribing to our email digest.

optional

Our Hottest Stories

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •