Letters

Letters 10-20-2014

Doctor Dan? After several email conversations with Rep. Benishek, he has confirmed that he doesn’t have a clue of what he does. Here’s why...

In Favor Of Our Parks [Traverse] City Proposal 1 is a creative way to improve our city parks without using our tax dollars. By using a small portion of our oil and gas royalties from the Brown Bridge Trust Fund, our parks can be improved for our children and grandchildren.

From January 1970 Popular Mechanics: “Drastic climate changes will occur within the next 50 years if the use of fossil fuels keeps rising at current rates.” That warning comes from Eugene K. Peterson of the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.

Newcomers Might Leave: Recently we had guests from India who came over as students with the plan to stay in America. He has a master’s degree in engineering and she is doing her residency in Chicago and plans to specialize in oncology. They talked very candidly about American politics and said that after observing...

Someone Is You: On Sept 21, I joined the 400,000 who took to the streets of New York in the People’s Climate March, followed by a UN Climate Summit and many speeches. On October 13, the Pentagon issued a report calling climate change a significant threat to national security requiring immediate action. How do we move from marches, speeches and reports to meaningful work on this problem? In NYC I read a sign with a simple answer...

Necessary To Pay: Last fall, Grand Traverse voters authorized a new tax to fix roads. It is good, it is necessary.

The Real Reasons for Wolf Hunt: I have really been surprised that no one has been commenting on the true reason for the wolf hunt. All this effort has not been expended so 23 wolves can be killed each year. Instead this manufactured controversy about the wolf hunt has been very carefully crafted to get Proposal 14-2 passed.

Home · Articles · News · Features · The sheet rock scandal
. . . .

The sheet rock scandal

Harley L. Sachs - December 7th, 2009
The Sheet Rock Scandal
Chinese drywall causes homeowner headaches
By Harley L. Sachs
Is your house booby-trapped by deadly sheet rock? Sheet rock is what
the inner walls of your dwelling space are made of. Sheet rock is a
sandwich of stiff paper over a core of gypsum, a calcium mineral bound
with water and useful for its fire retardant qualities. Before a
gypsum wall can burn through, it must first be heated enough to drive
off all the moisture otherwise locked into the gypsum.
Some makers of sheet rock incorporate recycled fly ash in the
manufacture, the byproduct from coal-fired power plants. It’s a
convenient way to dispose of or recycle coal ash. Additionally, gypsum
can contain minerals containing sulfide such as iron disulfide (FeS2
pyrite) in the material, hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbonyl sulfide,
sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon disulfide (CS2). Unfortunately, under
humid conditions like the climate of coastal cities, Florida, New
Orleans, the Texas coast, Vancouver Canada, and other maritime
locales, the sulfur can come out of the wall board and cause havoc.
That’s what has occurred in houses built during 2001-2008, housing
built or repaired after major hurricanes destroyed so many homes. In
that time of shortage, lots of sheet rock was imported from China. To
make the imported sheet rock even more troublesome it is believed the
cargo stayed at sea too long and absorbed too much moisture.
The sheet rock was mainly manufactured in a Chinese subsidiary of a
German company, Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co., Ltd. But the U.S.
company, Georgia Pacific has also been named in reports of this
scandal.
People whose homes have been built or remodeled using this defective
sheet rock have reported a smell of rotten eggs (sulfur dioxide), the
sudden failure of air conditioning units, dish washers, refrigerators,
and black corrosion on copper wiring and pipes. Physical reactions to
the smell have been nose bleeds, headaches, and respiratory problems.
Repairing the damage has in some cases required gutting the entire
house, forcing the owners to move out. The repair costs can exceed the
original cost of the building.
Naturally, the home owners -- besides suffering from the damage --
have been bombarded by developers cajoling them into signing
misleading waivers, lawyers asking they join the class action suits
against the manufacturer of the sheet rock (steadfastly denied by the
German parent company of the Chinese factory), and developers denying
all responsibility. The Chinese manufacturer of the sheet rock takes
the usual “Who me? Naw,” response. The developers say, “Who knew?”
Here in Northern Michigan we are unlikely to have any trouble with
this sheet rock. First, you have had to have dry wall installed during
the period 2001-2008. And when do we have hot, humid weather?
Still, this sheet rock problem is yet another case of the consumer
being the victim of a manufacturing error. In the past we have seen
manufactured homes with triple vapor barriers rot out in a few years
because the walls couldn’t breathe and the trapped moisture from
winter frost turned walls to mush. Roofing treated with a fire
retardant fell apart when the heat of the summer sun caused the fire
retardant to destroy the glue in the plywood laminate.
The old rule is “the buyer beware” but how could anyone have
anticipated that a new roof would fail, that a modern house would rot
out in no time, and sheets of drywall could suddenly give off fumes
that corroded the electrical appliances and tarnished granny’s silver?
When these things happen the lawyers pounce and the developers flee,
sometimes declaring bankruptcy. If you do have a problem with Chinese
sheet rock, contact the class action lawyers, Parker Waichman Alonso
LLP who filed the first drywall lawsuit in federal court. The web site
is www.yourlawyer.com.

 
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