Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


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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