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Are we ever going to get a break from Hurricane Katrina?

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 First, it was the formaldehyde ridden trailers that were issued by the government, now this;

Tainted Chinese drywall shows up in Katrina homes

AP 
St. Bernard Parish Fire Chief Thomas Stone removes an electrical outlet as Marco AP - St. Bernard Parish Fire Chief Thomas Stone removes an electrical outlet as Marco Kaltofen, a professional .
 
By CAIN BURDEAU, Associated Press Writer Cain Burdeau, Associated Press Writer - Sun Apr 12, 4:21 pm ET

CHALMETTE, La. - Thomas Stone and his wife rebuilt after their home was flooded by six feet of water during Hurricane Katrina, never dreaming they would face the agony of tearing it apart all over again.

They tapped Lauren Stone's 401(k) retirement savings and saved $1,000 by installing Chinese-made drywall throughout their two-story home. Now the Stones are among hundreds of Katrina victims facing another, this time unnatural, disaster.

Sulfur-emitting wallboard from China is wreaking havoc in homes, charring electrical wires, eating away at jewelry, silverware and other valuables, and possibly even sickening families.

"The bathroom upstairs has a corroded shower-head, the door hinges are rusting out," said 50-year-old Thomas Stone, the longtime fire chief of St. Bernard Parish, outside New Orleans. And then there's the stench, like rotten eggs, that seems to get worse with the heat and humidity.

"It makes me wish there would be another flood to wash it out," said his wife Lauren, 49.

Chinese manufacturers flooded the U.S. market with more than 500 million pounds of drywall around the same time Katrina was flooding New Orleans, an Associated Press review of shipping records has found.

The boom in imported China-made building materials peaked in 2006, driven by domestic shortages created by the nationwide construction boom, as well as a series of Gulf Coast hurricanes.

That year, enough wallboard was imported from China to build some 34,000 homes of roughly 2,000 square feet each, according to the AP's analysis and estimates supplied by the nationwide drywall supplier United States Gypsum. But experts and advocates say many homes may have been built with a mixture of Chinese and domestic drywall - which could push the number of affected homes to 100,000 or more, by some estimates.

The drywall apparently causes a chemical reaction that gives off the rotten-egg stench and corrodes metal. Researchers do not know yet what causes it, but possible culprits include fumigants sprayed on the drywall and material inside it. The Chinese drywall is also made with a coal byproduct called fly ash that is less refined than the form used by U.S. drywall makers.

The Chinese ministries of commerce, construction and industry and the Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine did not respond to repeated requests for comment from the AP, although Chinese media have reported that AQSIQ, which enforces product quality standards, was investigating.

The U.S. Product Consumer Safety Commission and a number of states are investigating the extent of the problem, what's causing it, and whether it poses serious health risks. But it could be years before the full extent of the problem is known.

Meanwhile, the moist climate of the South has meant the impact is being felt here first - at least 350 people in Louisiana have already complained to the state health department in yet another unexpected twist for hurricane victims who have lived through more than three years of hardship.

"We've been through the storms, we heard about the formaldehyde," Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals spokesman Renne Milligan said, referring to a previous housing nightmare in which tests showed elevated levels of formaldehyde in hundreds of FEMA-issued trailers.

"Some of our residents are still living through that, and now we're talking about this drywall," Milligan said.

Governors in Louisiana and Florida are asking for federal assistance, and members of Congress are calling for a recall and a ban on future imports.

Like hundreds of other homeowners from Florida to Texas, the Stones have signed on to a class-action lawsuit directed against the manufacturers, suppliers and builders of the drywall. The defendants in the Louisiana cases include Knauf Gips KG, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co., Taishan Gypsum Co., L&W Supply Corp. and USG Corp., a major U.S. drywall supplier.

"What we're trying to do is get to the bottom of what is precisely going on," said Ken Haldin, a spokesman for Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin.

The lawsuits contend the Chinese drywall is emitting sulfur, methane and other volatile organic chemical compounds that are ruining plaintiffs' homes and harming their health.

Some of the companies told AP they are looking into the complaints, but downplayed the possibility of health risks.

No U.S. agency regulates the chemical compounds used in imported drywall.

Attorney Daniel Becnel has filed about 15 lawsuits in federal court in New Orleans on behalf of hundreds of homeowners.

"And we're getting more in every single day," he said. "People are just distraught."

Mississippi attorney Steve Mullins has also joined the cadre of court actions.

"Bloody noses, headaches, respiratory infections," Mullins said, ticking off the list of health problems reported by his clients. "Over and over like a broken record."

"But let's ignore the personal injury aspect for a moment," he added. "You know what, this stuff's got to come out anyway."

He said his research indicates the problem could exist in hundreds of thousands of homes nationwide, a conclusion echoed by other experts.

"I smell a government bailout," he said.

David Sides, manager of River City Materials, a drywall supplier based in Jefferson, La., remembers when the Chinese product began saturating the U.S. market.

"Florida got hit with four hurricanes and that's what started the importing from overseas," said Sides, who says his company did not sell the tainted drywall. "So many people purchased board from overseas. So many people tried to cash in on shortages here."

Mary Haindel's home near Lake Pontchartrain was destroyed by Katrina's floodwaters, so she bought a new, $320,000 town-home in an area known as the North Shore, where many hurricane victims relocated. Soon, the coils on her air conditioning system went out, and copper slowly turned black - telltale signs that the tainted wallboard was used.

Her neighbors noticed similar problems and many of them are now suing.

Haindel, a 45-year-old real estate agent and jewelry appraiser, moved out. She is now renting a condominium and says it will be difficult to sell the home.

"As I was leaving, I noticed downstairs that a stainless-steel chandelier I have is turning black," she said. "You can't live in it. Your lungs get congested. Would you stay in a house eating pipes?"

The town home's builder, Leroy Laporte of Southern Star Construction Inc., declined to comment.

"It's Katrina all over again," Haindel said. "It was an immediate: You got to go, you pick up, and you leave."

And like Katrina, she feels the government has been too slow to respond.

"I don't see them protecting us at all," she said. "I don't know what's right or wrong anymore."

___

Associated Press Writers Brian Skoloff in West Palm Beach, Fla., and Joe MCDonald in Beijing contributed to this report.





  • angel-1-1-1-2.jpg picture by kfpep
by on Apr. 13, 2009 at 2:22 AM
Replies (21-28):
jrdnjstn00
by Bronze Member on Apr. 14, 2009 at 5:19 PM

Oh I didn't by any means meant to say you were racist just that it was a racist comment.

Alot of it has to do with the contractor. If he's trying to get done quickly and tells the workers to cut corners then yeah it makes the workers look bad but it should all be on the contractor. The quicker they get done the sooner they get paid and can go on to the next job.

It's ua that are letting illegal immigrants take our jobs because we don't want to do the dirty job or get paid cheaply. I bet know with the way the economy is those same people would take that job but contractors will go to the illegals cuz they know they can pay em $70 a day and be on their way

Anyways I'm babbling and I just wanted to say in no way did I think you were racist just the comment

Quoting lynz63:


Quoting jrdnjstn00:


Quoting lynz63:


Quoting JanMarie225:

Sorry but I don't feel sorry for those who used cheaper materials to repair/rebuild their homes. Sheetrock isn't that expensive and you're not supposed to put it in the shower area in the first place.



Also...contractors were hiring the Mexicans to do work...saving themselves money because they paid them lower wages and in cash. And the workmanship was not always quality.

OMG this is sooooo racist! Just cuz someone hires a mexican to dowork doesn't mean that it's going to be a shoddy job. I'm half mexican and I work my but off and make sure it's done right.

 

I'm sorry if this offended you...it was not meant to offend.(...and really, I'm sick and tired of the race card bit.) However, hundreds of Mexicans came to the New Orleans area looking for work. Which I might add...took many jobs away from citizens... BECAUSE THEY WOULD WORK FOR LESS MONEY. And I know many people personally that did hire Mexicans and had to have the work redone. It's not a racist statement. It's the truth.

As for you...I'm sure you do work your butt off. I also know Mexicans...who are citizens that work their butt's off. I know people from other Hispanic countries that 'work their butt's off'. And NO I'm not racist. Two of my grandchildren are half Hispanic...and my little great grandson is 3/4's Hispanic.Just so you know it's not the Hispanic/Latino race I'm against. It's all the crap PEOPLE OF ANY RACE, pull off.

I



lynz63
by Member on Apr. 14, 2009 at 6:03 PM


Quoting jrdnjstn00:

Oh I didn't by any means meant to say you were racist just that it was a racist comment.

Alot of it has to do with the contractor. If he's trying to get done quickly and tells the workers to cut corners then yeah it makes the workers look bad but it should all be on the contractor. The quicker they get done the sooner they get paid and can go on to the next job.

It's ua that are letting illegal immigrants take our jobs because we don't want to do the dirty job or get paid cheaply. I bet know with the way the economy is those same people would take that job but contractors will go to the illegals cuz they know they can pay em $70 a day and be on their way

Anyways I'm babbling and I just wanted to say in no way did I think you were racist just the comment

Quoting lynz63:


Quoting jrdnjstn00:

 

Quoting lynz63:


Quoting JanMarie225:

Sorry but I don't feel sorry for those who used cheaper materials to repair/rebuild their homes. Sheetrock isn't that expensive and you're not supposed to put it in the shower area in the first place.

 


Also...contractors were hiring the Mexicans to do work...saving themselves money because they paid them lower wages and in cash. And the workmanship was not always quality.

OMG this is sooooo racist! Just cuz someone hires a mexican to dowork doesn't mean that it's going to be a shoddy job. I'm half mexican and I work my but off and make sure it's done right.

 

I'm sorry if this offended you...it was not meant to offend.(...and really, I'm sick and tired of the race card bit.) However, hundreds of Mexicans came to the New Orleans area looking for work. Which I might add...took many jobs away from citizens... BECAUSE THEY WOULD WORK FOR LESS MONEY. And I know many people personally that did hire Mexicans and had to have the work redone. It's not a racist statement. It's the truth.

As for you...I'm sure you do work your butt off. I also know Mexicans...who are citizens that work their butt's off. I know people from other Hispanic countries that 'work their butt's off'. And NO I'm not racist. Two of my grandchildren are half Hispanic...and my little great grandson is 3/4's Hispanic.Just so you know it's not the Hispanic/Latino race I'm against. It's all the crap PEOPLE OF ANY RACE, pull off.

I

 

 

No problem. I just wanted to let anyone who might read this know that I'm not being racist.


lynz63

lynz63
by Member on Apr. 14, 2009 at 6:08 PM


Quoting resamerie:


Quoting lynz63:


Quoting jrdnjstn00:

 

Quoting lynz63:


Quoting JanMarie225:

Sorry but I don't feel sorry for those who used cheaper materials to repair/rebuild their homes. Sheetrock isn't that expensive and you're not supposed to put it in the shower area in the first place.

 


Also...contractors were hiring the Mexicans to do work...saving themselves money because they paid them lower wages and in cash. And the workmanship was not always quality.

OMG this is sooooo racist! Just cuz someone hires a mexican to dowork doesn't mean that it's going to be a shoddy job. I'm half mexican and I work my but off and make sure it's done right.

 

I'm sorry if this offended you...it was not meant to offend.(...and really, I'm sick and tired of the race card bit.) However, hundreds of Mexicans came to the New Orleans area looking for work. Which I might add...took many jobs away from citizens... BECAUSE THEY WOULD WORK FOR LESS MONEY. And I know many people personally that did hire Mexicans and had to have the work redone. It's not a racist statement. It's the truth.

As for you...I'm sure you do work your butt off. I also know Mexicans...who are citizens that work their butt's off. I know people from other Hispanic countries that 'work their butt's off'. And NO I'm not racist. Two of my grandchildren are half Hispanic...and my little great grandson is 3/4's Hispanic.Just so you know it's not the Hispanic/Latino race I'm against. It's all the crap PEOPLE OF ANY RACE, pull off.

I

Thank you Lynz!! As I said, my family is from Chalmette, St. Bernard Parish. My brother who is a liscenced contractor lost many jobs to contractors underbidding because they were using illegal help that came cheaper, and shoddy material such as this. Meanwhile, he could have really used the work to rebuild his own home.  

 

I know what you mean and how you feel. I too had family and very many friends that lived down there...all of them lost everything.I hope all in your family are doing well... considering what they've been through. 


lynz63

ellyc19111
by Bronze Member on Apr. 14, 2009 at 6:22 PM

ARE YOU KIDDING??? Around here in Philly, those who are still alive, are STILL complaining about their awnings that flew off and the telephone poles that were bent and uprooted trees and flying debris that caused damage due to Hurricane Hazel back in 1955. Back then there WAS no aid. Your loss was your loss and you could submit it to your insurance company and that was it. A lot of people just absorbed the loss because a rise in their premiums just wasn't worth it. As a child back then all I remember is being afraid.

njpmom06
by Member on Apr. 14, 2009 at 6:30 PM


Quoting ellyc19111:

ARE YOU KIDDING??? Around here in Philly, those who are still alive, are STILL complaining about their awnings that flew off and the telephone poles that were bent and uprooted trees and flying debris that caused damage due to Hurricane Hazel back in 1955. Back then there WAS no aid. Your loss was your loss and you could submit it to your insurance company and that was it. A lot of people just absorbed the loss because a rise in their premiums just wasn't worth it. As a child back then all I remember is being afraid.


There was no way you could just absorb the loss with Katrina in NOLA.  The biggest problem that no one seems to understand is the fact the levies broke, those homes that were not torn to shreds from the wind were washed away or so damaged that they just had to be gutted.  100's and 100's of lives were lost.  Not everyone could get out of NOLA, there were those that chose to stay and loot, but there were 100 for everyone of those that just could not get out....or they didn't think it would be as bad as it was.

 

jblueeyes228
by Member on Apr. 14, 2009 at 7:17 PM


Quoting JanMarie225:

Sorry but I don't feel sorry for those who used cheaper materials to repair/rebuild their homes. Sheetrock isn't that expensive and you're not supposed to put it in the shower area in the first place.

 Many if not most specifically asked for AMERICAN made drywall. Even here in FLA. people that are redoing their homes now are dealing with this dangerous. What the hell do you mean "you don't feel sorry for them? Man, that's just COLD


ellyc19111
by Bronze Member on Apr. 15, 2009 at 1:55 PM


Quoting njpmom06:


Quoting ellyc19111:

ARE YOU KIDDING??? Around here in Philly, those who are still alive, are STILL complaining about their awnings that flew off and the telephone poles that were bent and uprooted trees and flying debris that caused damage due to Hurricane Hazel back in 1955. Back then there WAS no aid. Your loss was your loss and you could submit it to your insurance company and that was it. A lot of people just absorbed the loss because a rise in their premiums just wasn't worth it. As a child back then all I remember is being afraid.


There was no way you could just absorb the loss with Katrina in NOLA.  The biggest problem that no one seems to understand is the fact the levies broke, those homes that were not torn to shreds from the wind were washed away or so damaged that they just had to be gutted.  100's and 100's of lives were lost.  Not everyone could get out of NOLA, there were those that chose to stay and loot, but there were 100 for everyone of those that just could not get out....or they didn't think it would be as bad as it was.

 

    My point was it was a traumatic experience and nobody will probably ever get over it. OK, so it wasn't Katrina-like. But there have been other hurricanes in the past that have been equally as destructive. This one isn't the end-all. I'm sure there'll be worse in the future.

sugarsmom2
by Bronze Member on Apr. 15, 2009 at 7:45 PM

why do they allow china and korea to send us bad or inferire products ? they send us taninted toys and bad food and we just say thank you . may i havemore please . what did we do to allow this trash to be sold in our country . ? why doesnt our companys start to stand up for our citizens . if they will not allow us to make the products that they want us to buy they shoud at least make sure that they will not rob us of our health . I would like to say i want to buy american but what is made in america anymore . not much . we used to make shoes steel and cars and clothes furniture the list was long and the products where very good . try to get that from the other countrys . cheaper is not always better .I want safe and clean things .  

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