Q&A / 

Chinese Drywall Causes


End view of drywall with factory label removed. © 2017 Roger R Henthorn

Chinese Drywall ALERT


The first thing everyone wants to know is, "What's causing the problem? What's in the drywall that's causing health deterioration and the corrosion of metal in homes?"

Fly Ash From Power Plants

The answer is simple: fly ash in the drywall from Chinese power plants. Fly ash is that part of the rock - coal is rock - that simply won't burn.

High-Sulfur Coal

The Chinese use poor quality high-sulfur coal to make electricity. This coal may contain other harmful chemical elements that, once mixed with gypsum in drywall, create toxic gas that's causing the issues in American homes.

Understand the fly ash is a waste by-product from the power plants that normally would be thrown away or put into a landfill.

Fly Ash Filler

However, for years fly ash has been used as a FILLER in both drywall and concrete.

Here is the USA, we use low-sulfur coal in our power plants. The resulting fly ash does not contain the high concentrations of sulfur and other possible elements that are contributing to both health issues of occupants who live in houses with the tainted drywall.

Corrosion Severe

The sulfur in the drywall is creating an offgas - hydrogen sulfide.

This gas reacts with metal objects causing corrosion. It targets:

  • electrical wiring
  • coils on air conditioners
  • copper plumbing
  • metal ductwork
  • joist hangers and structural connectors

It's interesting to note that many newer drywall manufacturing plants are built very close to coal-fired power plants so they have a cheap and readily available supply of fly ash.

We are currently researching ways to determine if you have Chinese Drywall and might have associated corrosion. We are posting additional information as we find it.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a press release titled HUD and CPSC Issue Guidance on Repairing Homes With Problem Drywall. This release  is an interim remediation guidance to help homeowners struggling to rid their properties of problem drywall linked to corrosion of metal in their homes such as electrical components.


Factory label on end of drywall. © 2017 Roger R Henthorn

A report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) provides some guidance for preliminary identification on Problem Drywall. Their report Interim Guidance - Identification of Homes with Corrosion from Problem Drywall can be read by clicking on the title. This report is in PDF format.

The CPSC report refers a guide issued by the state of Florida. Information on that report is shown below.

The state of Florida has posted a Self-Assessment Guide for signs that a home may be affected by drywall Associated Corrosion. The link to their site is http://doh.state.fl.us/environment/community/indoor-air/inspections.html

USAToday has an article relating to damages awarded to families for homes ruined by sulfur-emitting Chinese drywall. Click here to read the article titled "Judge awards families $2.6M over tainted Chinese drywall."

Check back later for updates. An update was provided in the April 11, 2010 and the  April 6, 2010 AsktheBuilder Newsletter


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