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A recently married couple, Mary and Ryan Willis, had built a new home in Florida and moved in three years ago. They noticed a bad smell coming from the drywall but were told to ignore it. About a month ago they discovered that the house had been built with defective drywall which will probably have to be torn out.

Sulfur Gas Emission

The drywall supplier was a Chinese company called Knauf Tianjin Plasterboard Co., Ltd. which is a subsidiary of the German manufacturer Knauf Group. This drywall has been found to emit sulfur gas and the Willis’ have been suffering from dizziness and breathing problems. In the past three years they have had to replace the air conditioning coils four times and various pieces of electronic equipment twice.

The sulfur gas has corroded the air conditioning coils, television sets, electrical wiring and plumbing. That is because it corrodes copper. Sulfur also corrodes chrome, which contains traces of copper and is part of many household fixtures such as microwaves and refrigerators. When mixed with moisture in the air it creates sulfuric acid.

An investigation done by America’s Watchdog, based in Washington D.C., has discovered defective Chinese drywall in 12 other states besides Florida. Alabama is not one of them.

Another feature of sulfur is that it weighs more than air. That makes it settle low over the floor and thus pose a threat to pets and children.

Investigations in Progress

A class-action lawsuit has been filed in Florida. Drywall removal is underway and several groups, including the Florida Health Department, are conducting tests. One builder, Lennar Homes, has found three sulfide gases, one of which is hydrogen sulfide which has a rotten-eggs smell. Drywall is usually made in the U.S. but between 2004 and 2006 there was a shortage, motivating some builders to obtain it from China. Florida’s construction boom years were 2004-5.

Defective products can be insidious. The defects may not be obvious, as in this case, and may require specialized testing for accurate discovery.

If you have been injured by a defective product and would like to know more about your legal rights and options, please contact our defective product attorneys to set up a free consultation.

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