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.