16 December, 2010 - Now, a problem with US manufactured dry wall in homes
UPDATE: 15 December, 2010 Federal failure on Chinese drywall
By Aaron Kessler and JOAQUIN SAPIEN, ProPublica
( page of 11 )
June 11, 2010: US drywall now contains toxic coal ash
For the thousands of U.S. homeowners who are grappling with the financial and emotional trauma caused by defective Chinese drywall, one thing is now clear: The federal government is woefully unequipped to help them with a product defect as expensive and widespread as this one.
From 2007 Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste: Burning away all the pesky carbon and other impurities, coal power plants produce heaps of radiation
See also: Mold problems and flooding: Lessons to be learned from Katrina
UPDATE: 9 April, 2010 - Judge Awards Families $2.6M Over Chinese Drywall
UPDATE: 3 April, 2010 - Feds: Homes with Chinese drywall must be gutted
UPDATE: 24 June, 2009 -
Public Not Allowed to Know Location of Hazardous Coal Ash Sites
by Environmental News Service (ENS)
EPA Withholds Locations of 'High Hazard' Coal Ash Sites
WASHINGTON, DC - There are 44 coal combustion waste sites nationwide that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified as "high hazard," but the agency cannot make the locations of these hazardous sites public, Senator Barbara Boxer told reporters today. The California senator chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees the federal environmental agency.
This item was originally posted in December, 2008. It is re-posted now because of the dry wall issue.
UPDATE: 8 May
'Stinky' Drywall Imported From China Raises Health And Safety ConcernsUPDATE: 18 April -
ScienceDaily (2009-05-07) -- Homeowners throughout the United States are complaining of stinky odors, copper pipe and wire corrosion, and respiratory problems in an ongoing crisis that officials say is linked to drywall imported from China. ... > read full article
Fla. to test air in homes with Chinese drywall
UPDATE: 14 April -
Coal sludge and health risks apply to dry wall from China.
Thank you to Scott Patterson for letting me post his comments. He is in the business of home inspection.
Toxic Chinese Drywall might be in your home!
Over the past few months, owners of newer homes nationwide have been complaining of drywall that smells like rotten eggs. In several cases, they have had to leave their home because the smell was so bad. In addition to the putrid smell, many homeowners have reported problems with air conditioning and other systems that are likely related to the defective Chinese drywall. This is being called the next EIFS like disaster in the real estate market!
Many have spent hundreds and even thousands of dollars - to have air conditioning, pipes and wiring repaired. Usually, drywall is manufactured in the United States, but a shortage between 2004 and 2006 prompted many builders to buy drywall from China.
Most of the reported problems stem from drywall imported from China during the construction boom years of 2004-2005. Florida and the Gulf Coast states have been the first to report and have issue with this drywall showing up but it also showing up in non-coastal areas.
Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd. of China, a subsidiary of German-based manufacturer Knauf, is the company at the focus of these drywall problems. If your newer home smells like sulfur or rotten eggs, you may have defective Chinese drywall. The problem is coming from coal ash that was mixed into the gypsum drywall compound. It appears that China was attempting to get rid of their coal ash problems by mixing it with the drywall compound. When the drywall is exposed to moisture, such as high humidity a chemical reaction starts. The result of this reaction is the production of Hydrogen Sulfide and Sulfuric acid gas. This is the rotten egg smell that is present with the drywall.
This drywall is responsible for the destruction of the copper coils in HVAC units in the homes that it has been installed in. The corrosive off gassing is also responsible for damaging many other components in the homes from the copper electrical to the nails and screws that are holding everything together in the home.
If you think that you might have Chinese Drywall, you should contact a reputable home inspector who is familiar with this problem. If you need help locating an inspector just give me a call and I might know of a person in your area. As this new discovery is just starting to rear its ugly head, many are not aware of this problem. Call Scott Patterson at 615-302-113 if you have a problem or question.
The author of this informative notice is Scott Patterson. Scott is a nationally recognized home inspector who works out of the Nashville TN area and holds multiple state home inspector licenses. This may not be reproduced with out written permission from the author. Copyright 2009
See also -
Dusts From Drywall
Tainted Chinese Drywall
UPDATE: 2 January, 2009 - The Christian Science Monitor has a very good article on this situation that points out the lax requirements dating back the the corporate influence in the Clinton Administration. Lax EPA regulations continued during the outgoing Bush regime. One issue similar to the Cataldo Mission toxic site is a waste repository being built with no liner. Obviously this is a major issue needing to be addressed by the newly elected administration.
The coal sludge ponds that failed, as reported in media reports recently, raise health issues. It is good to see that the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is planning to test the water in the area hit by this flood of waste. And certainly it seems as if the damage done to peoples homes and lives is being addressed.
I work with a group that is in community that has been the victim of mine waste for over 100 years. The information I develop for them on health is shared with other groups who are dealing with the impact of mining waste.
In the news stories there has been mention that the coal waste is radioactive. Coal waste also leaves arsenic in the water as well as the possibility for other heavy metal leaching.
TVA would be well advised to supply all those harmed in this tragedy with high quality vitamin C and iodine products. Additionally, a very specific product containing both vitamin C and specialized essences of garlic (equal to 35 cloves of the full spectrum of garlic's benefits) is appropriate.
Vitamin C is an excellent chelator and will help remove heavy metal waste from the body. Garlic is a heavy metal chelator as well and it offers other protective support for health. Iodine, such as Iosol or professional products like Prolamine Iodine, even adding the sea vegetables to one's diet, works to reduce the impact of radioactivity.
For more information on clean-up concerns please see Silver Valley Action.
Spill may have permanently altered Tenn. communityBy KRISTIN M. HALL, Associated Press Writer Kristin M. Hall, Associated Press Writer Tue Dec 30, 3:17 am ET
KINGSTON, Tenn. – A week after more than a billion gallons of coal ash broke through a retention pond dike and roared into a small river cove, the landscape has turned into a muddy pit that's little like the scenic spot that attracted people to live here.
The Emory River is clogged with giant chunks of gray ash sticking out of the water and trees ripped out by their roots and washed downstream during the Dec. 22 disaster. Ducks float in a film of sand-like residue on the surface. Dozens of pieces of heavy equipment are digging along the river to try to clean it of coal ash.
The Kingston Steam Plant, a coal-fired power plant operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority, sits on the confluence of two rivers, about 35 miles west of Knoxville.
The deluge destroyed three houses, displaced a dozen families and damaged 42 parcels of land, but there were no serious injuries.
There are 62 pieces of heavy machinery slowly gathering up the spilled ash from residential roads, railroad tracks and the river, plant manager Ron Hall said Monday.
But no one at TVA can say how long the cleanup will take and how thorough the restoration can be.
"It's almost like someone dying, because it's so permanent," said Crystell Flinn, whose home was swept away.
Hall said workers will pull the sludge out of the river using barges and skimmers, and dump trucks will carry it to a different site at the plant. But the material won't return to the large riverside retention ponds still there.
"We will not likely put in wet ash ponds again, even though they have shown to be structurally integral," TVA environmental executive Anda Ray said Monday. "We are looking at options for what to do long term for that ash disposal, but there are dry ash pond technologies."
In the days after the spill, officials are finding more reasons to be concerned about the possible harmful long-term effects. Federal officials on Monday cautioned residents who use private wells or springs to stop drinking the water.
But the area isn't densely populated, and TVA said that no more than four wells are in the spill area.
Samples taken near the spill slightly exceed drinking water standards for toxic substances, and arsenic in one sample was higher than the maximum level allowed for drinking water, according to a press release from TVA, the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies.
Federal officials should have tests on the affected wells sometime this week.
"I think they (the wells) were beyond the actual slide point of the material," EPA spokeswoman Laura Niles said. "There shouldn't be direct impact, but that's why they are sampling."
Authorities have said the municipal water supply is safe to drink.
Arsenic occurs naturally in the environment, but elevated levels can cause ailments ranging from nausea to partial paralysis, and long-term exposure has been linked to several types of cancer, according to the EPA.
Ray said arsenic levels were high because of the type of measurement that the EPA used, which included soil mixed in with water.
"Those samples were not dissolved arsenic," Ray said. "The dissolved arsenic, which is what you look at for drinking water samples, are undetectable in all the cases. The elevated arsenic that the EPA is referring to is the data that we collected when it was stirred up. It is routinely filtered out through all water treatment plants."
Environmental concerns could shift when the sludge containing the fly ash, a fine powdery material, dries out. The EPA and TVA have begun air monitoring and on Monday advised people to avoid activities that could stir up dust, such as children or pets playing outside.
The dust can contain metals, including arsenic, that irritate the skin and can aggravate pre-existing conditions like asthma, Niles said.
The EPA recommends that anyone exposed to the dust should wash thoroughly with soap and water and wash the affected clothes separately from other garments.
Ray said TVA will start installing sprinkler systems in areas where the ash has dried out to keep it moist.
Knoxville-based TVA supplies electricity to Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press