Drywall: Potential Problems with Chinese Drywall

“The road to success is always under construction”
– Arnold Palmer

You know what they say, “Life Happens.” For many of us, our schedules are so busy that we barely have time to sit and reflect on ourselves, let alone our homes. Modern life can make it quite easy to miss important indicators of hazards lurking right under your nose. The purpose of this article is simply to provide information concerning the importance of knowing the materials used in your home and enriching your knowledge of home safety. In this case, the primary focus is the use of a material that has become quite problematic within recent years.

Chinese Drywall

Due to the high demand of construction materials after back to back, highly destructive hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005, the search for alternative providers for materials began when the primary source could not meet the growing demand. That alternative provider became manufacturing companies in China. The problem is not so much where they were made but, how they were made.

According to CPSC, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, since 2008 there have been reports of problematic drywall from 44 states. Given the correlation between hurricane season and new construction, it’s clear to see why states surrounding the Gulf of Mexico would have the highest number of reports. Typically, reports of problem drywall were from houses that were built or repaired between 2001 and 2009.

Not all Chinese drywall is problematic and luckily there are signs that will help you identify if your home was built with questionable drywall. Most noticeably, homeowners reported corrosion, blackening of electrical fixtures, metals, appliances, plumbing and air conditioner coils. So, if you notice frequently changing parts that seem relatively new, that could be sign of something more serious. Homeowners have reported a “ROTTEN EGG” smell inside their homes, most likely due to the high amounts of sulfur used in making the drywall. If you are still questioning whether or not your home had been exposed to problem drywall, there are other test that can be used to identify if the drywall caused erosion. Such as testing for elevated sulfide gas emissions from drywall. Here is a quick guideline given by the CPSC to help pinpoint what where the materials used to build your home came from. I f drywall was installed between 2005 and 2009, only 2 of these characteristics must be present. If drywall was installed between 2001 and 2004, then at least 4 of the following characteristics must be present.

  • Elemental sulfur in the drywall core (requires outside lab testing)
  • Copper sulfide on coupons, grounding wires, and/or air conditioning coils (requires outside lab testing)
  • Chinese markings on drywall (This does not imply that all Chinese drywall or that only Chinese drywall is associated with these problems, but that among homes with the characteristic corrosion, Chinese drywall is a corroborating marker for the characteristic problems.)
    • Note: Such markings may not be present or easily discerned in all problem drywall homes.
  • Elevated sulfide gas emissions from drywall (requires outside lab testing)
  • Corrosion induced by drywall in test chambers (requires outside lab testing)

If you would like more information, here is another guide to determine whether or not problematic drywall has been installed in your home.


Unfortunately, often all the aforementioned signs are overlooked and it is when the residents of a home become ill are forced to be aware of the gravity of the situation.

Health Factors

Health problems arise when individuals are exposed to high levels of sulfur compounds that may be found in the air of a home built with Chinese Drywall. Health risks associated with exposure include Headaches, irritation of eyes, nose and throat, feeling tired and problems controlling respiratory conditions, such as Asthma.


If it has been determined that you do have hazardous drywall installed in your home, the next step would be remediation, also known as get it out of there. Here is a guideline given by the CPSC –