Lately, when Louisiana residents like myself see New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton on TV, it's usually not in reference to the Saints' first-ever trip to the Super Bowl February 7
Rather, in numerous ad spots
, Payton can be seen discussing tainted drywall from China that was used in his home in Mandeville, just north of New Orleans. In the ads, he urges homeowners to take notice and perhaps seek legal help.
Payton is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit filed last month in U.S. District Court against Knauf Plasterboard Tainjin Co. Ltd, a Chinese drywall manufacturer. According to Payton and and his attorneys
, ingredients in the drywall smell like rotten eggs, and corroded certain metal components in the house -- such as plumbing and electrical equipment -- and caused his family to become sick. Payton now considers his house uninhabitable and moved his family out.
Payton's plight may be public, but he's certainly not alone. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
says it's received more than 2,800 reports from residents in 36 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico who suspect "their health symptoms or the corrosion of certain metal components in their homes" are related to Chinese drywall.
Could your home contain tainted Chinese drywall too?
According to some reports, the tainted drywall problem is occurring mostly in four states: Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Alabama. The drywall was used from 2001 to 2008, with most of it installed from 2005 to 2008 when massive rebuilding following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused a shortage of domestically made drywall.
The CPSC and the U.S. Dept. of Health and Housing Development say there are two questions
to ask when trying to determine if your house might have tainted drywall:
1. Was your drywall installed between 2001 and 2008?
2. Does a visual inspection of your home show blackening of copper electrical wiring and/or air conditioning evaporator coils? See photos of corroded metals in a house with suspected tainted drywall
Even if you answered yes to both questions, government and insurance companies may require additional indicators. For instance, the surface of the drywall facing away from the interior might be marked "Made in China." A chemical analysis of the metal corrosion may be required, as well as an analysis of chemical emissions from the drywall. These measurements will likely require professional assistance and analysis. See the guidelines here
1. Safety first: The most important issue is your well-being and safety. If you are suffering from the health symptoms described as common to the reports of exposure to tainted drywall, consult your physician as soon as possible. If you experience any of the electrical or fire safety concerns described as common to the reports of exposure to tainted drywall, consult your local gas or electric supplier and a licensed electrician or building inspector as soon as possible.
2. File a report: Contact your State and local authorities to report your concerns and get direction on any help or resources in your area. You should also report your concerns to us using the form at https://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/drywall.aspx. Consider contacting your insurance company and homebuilder, too, to report your concerns.
To learn more about tainted drywall from China, go to the CPSC's Drywall Information Center