Thursday, October 29, 2009

What's that smell?

It was back in the early 70s that I noticed water spots on the glass of my trusty Dodge Dart I had just washed and waxed. Thought I had dried it well before waxing. Oh well I'll get out the alcohol and water and hit the windows again. But no these water spots don't want to go away. "Hey what's going on here", I asked my brother. "Acid rain" he said. This was back when the EPA was just coming into existance. Nobody thought much about air pollution back then because the mills and factories had cleaned up their act and you could actually see blue sky. Little did I know that even tiny amounts of sulfur from the coal plants and mills were mixing with water vapor to make acid rain. Any form of sulfur can do that. As for the co2 produced that's another story.
With that little background info under your belt I come upon Chinese drywall. Used extensively in the Gulf Coast area after Katrina people started noticing a rotten egg smell as the rainy weather started. After some investigation it was determined that the drywall contained fly ash which is the waste product from smoke stacks of the factories and mills in China. That is no great revelation we use gypsum made from fly ash in this country but it is made from the waste after it goes through the stacks scrubbers. And we know China's record on quality control from the toys and dogfood we've imported from them so you could just imagine the consistancy of their products, in this case, what was in the drywall and how much? Then there's the issue of exposures. You can take 10 people and 9 of them may have no effects while the tenth will become violently ill. Government agencies won't make a determination as to the hazards until they have studied the problem. Homeowners warranties won't cover the problem because they don't cover materials. That's a manufacturer liability issue. Good luck trying to sue the Chinese.
Now for the real kicker. If you try to get your insurance company to help in this matter they'll drop your coverage because you now have a possible liability to them. Once your home insurance is dropped the mortgage company will call your loan meaning you'll have to pay the balance of your mortgage. And try getting the builder to do something and they'll refer you the the Chinese manufacturer. The perfect Catch 22.

Chinese drywall


MRMacrum said...

Not all insurance companies are playing that game. Some are standing up and doing the right thing. Allstate is the worst one I have heard about.

BBC said...

I don't know about how others are being treated and I've bought no drywall from China so no problem there.

What I do know is that I've trucked gypsum out of a gypsum mine in Wyoming a few times and took it to a drywall plant in Seattle.

And I hauled a number of loads of drywall mud out of Long Beach, Ca, to Spokane and Missoula. The rock they used was shipped in from Brazil and crushed in Long Beach.

Rick has a problem in his shop that the landlord is dragging his feet on getting taken care of. The septic system doesn't work right and floods at times, especially when it's raining.

And there has been rat problems at times. A couple of weeks ago when it rained a lot he came to the shop one morning and there was an inch of water in the showroom and the place just reeked like the smell of rat shit.

I contend that the bottom foot of wallboard has to be removed and fans put in there to dry out the lower part of the studs and sill plate. And then sprayed with something (I'm not sure what) before installing new wallboard.

And the carpeting has to be replaced, I don't think cleaning will fix it. What say you?

BBC said...

Oh, it's not a big room, about 10 X 12 feet, I think a carpet remnant would be as cheap as trying to clean and remove the crap from the old carpet in it. The floor is cement.

S.W. Anderson said...

China's government would be very wise to offer reparations. Our government would be very wise to prod China's government to do that, or slap severe restrictions and testing requirements on any building materials brought in from China — hassles the Chinese would be obliged to pay for, BTW.

Of course, none of this is likely to happen because we're in debt up to our eyeballs to China, and our need to borrow from them stretches years into the future.

Just another little something to remember George W. Bush by.

Randal Graves said...

See if I ever buy any lead-laced toys from China again, hmph.

Funny how virtually every single problem since the dawn of civilization ends up with the little guy getting screwed. Oh well, wacky coincidence.

BBC said...

Funny how virtually every single problem since the dawn of civilization ends up with the little guy getting screwed.

That gave me an amusing thought, ha ha ha.

Robert Rouse said...

Can we go the Hague and sue China for - oh, I don't know - the amount of our debt?

Sorry I haven't been by in a few days, my computer has been acting up.

Tom Harper said...

At least Chinese drywall doesn't contain any contaminated wheat gluten.

Anonymous said...

If it smells so bad, how come you don't smell it when you're in the house????? I mean, Joe and I are wanting to BUY a home and now...well... I wonder if that can be written into the contract.