What is Chinese Drywall?

"Chinese drywall" refers to an environmental health issue involving defective drywall manufactured in China, imported to the United States and used in residential construction between 2001 and 2009 — affecting "an estimated 100,000 homes in more than 20 states."

In samples of contaminated drywall, laboratory tests will detect off-gassing of volatile chemicals and sulfurous gases — including carbon disulfide, carbonyl sulfide, and hydrogen sulfide. The emissions worsen as temperature and humidity rise, will give off a sulfuric (rotten egg) odor and will cause copper surfaces to turn black and powdery, a chemical process indicative of a hydrogen sulfide reaction and an early indication of contaminated drywall. Copper pipes, electrical wiring, and air conditioner coils are affected, as well as silver jewelry.


Drywall from China was imported into the U.S. to address the shortage of construction materials created by the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons and the national demand for new home construction. Beginning about 2008, people living in homes built between 2001 and 2008 began reporting health issues. People also reported corrosion of certain metal components in their homes. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the lead federal agency for problem drywall, began investigating the problem in 2009 with ATSDR and other agencies. In 2011, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) and CPSC agreed that more could be done to estimate exposures to sulfur compounds emitted from problem drywall and identify possible health risks from those exposures.

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Why Choose Preemptive Strike?

Our Chinese Drywall investigation methodology adheres to industry guidelines.

Projects Completed
Inspected Buildings
Benefited Clients

Services Provided


  • Chinese Drywall Threshold Inspection

General Testing

  • Drywall Testing

General Services

  • Project Consulting
  • Project Oversight
  • Project Coordination
  • Project Risk Management
  • Project Hazard Assessments
  • Peer Review

Why is it Important?

Human Health Effects

Short-term exposures might result in effects seen in both clinical and human epidemiologic studies. These include exacerbation of pre-existing respiratory conditions, eye and nasal irritation, headache, changes in vision, and weakness. Although less certain, longer term exposures may have increased the risk of damage to nasal tissue. Exposure to the estimated contaminant concentrations could diminish a resident’s quality of life by triggering irritant (eye, nose, and throat) and physical (respiratory, gastrointestinal) symptoms, leading to negative mood states, and altering daily activities. Homeowners have reported health symptoms including respiratory problems such as asthma attacks, chronic coughing and difficulty breathing, as well as chronic headaches and sinus issues.

Damage to Home Components

Repeated A/C evaporator coil failures indicative of this corrosion problem typically occur every 6-14 months, instead of the normal 10 to 20 years.
Blackening of copper components throughout home. Electrical wiring as well as other copper, silver and metal fixtures may exhibit sulfide corrosion when exposed to the reduced sulfur gases including: copper wires, ground wires, and electrical connectors; un-insulated and un-coated copper pipes and fittings, chrome-plated bathroom fixtures, silver and copper jewelry and mirror backing in bathrooms.

2012 USdrywall
2012 Florida Drywall Map

Facts Library

Radon has been found in every state

Homes with high levels of radon have been found in every state. In fact, radon levels can vary greatly from home to home--even levels next door can be very different. Radon is measured in picocuries per liter of air (pCi/L), a measurement of radioactivity. In the United States, the average indoor radon level is about 1.3 pCi/L. The average outdoor level is about 0.4 pCi/L. The U.S. Surgeon General and EPA recommend fixing homes with radon levels at or above 4 pCi/L. EPA also recommends that people think about fixing their homes for radon levels between 2 pCi/L and 4 pCi/L

Helpful Links

ATSDR’s Drywall Website
Consumer Product Safety
Commission’s Drywall
Information Center
y-education/safety-education centers/drywall-information center/

For additional information regarding Chinese Drywall, please review the information provided by the CPSC at http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/News-Releases/2010/CPSC-Identifies-Manufacturers-of-Problem-Drywall-Made-in-China/ and the Florida Department of Health at (http://www.doh.state.fl.us/environment/community/indoor-air/casedefinition.html , 1/5/2010).