HVAC heat exchanger corrosion associated with Chinese drywall presence. Image credit:ChineseDrywall.com
This headline is certainly the meta-story that hovers above the request by Florida's Republican Governor for Federal money to cover the cost of re-repairing thousands of hurricane-damaged homes which were repaired first with Chinese drywall. Florida's Governor wants Federal money because insurance companies won't cover the re-repairs for it's citizens (shocking isn't it?). That the Chinese supplier did not feel the need to assist goes without saying. So, thousands of Floridians are still exposed to acid gases that visibly corrode wiring and HVAC components (and possibly lungs). Ironically, the State's letter of request was sent to FEMA of toxic trailer fame.
Lloyd covered the Chinese drywall story so many times over the last two years that he has earned the nickname 'Dry Wally.' A full listing of these posts is provided below. Here's a quick and Chinese-dirty recap of what happened.
- Hurricane caused massive damage to housing in Gulf Coast and South Atlantic states, including Florida.
- Demand for drywall to repair storm damage was so high that there was not enough to meet the needs.
- Distributor(s) imported shiploads of drywall from China. This drywall may potentially have been manufactured with off-spec (by US maker standards) gypsum that was capable of emitting acid gases into the building interior once in contact with high humidity or condensation (as pictured above). It is possible, for example that a synthetic gypsum, such as FGD gypsum was used.
- Government agencies spent years 'studying' the problem so as not to offend China.
- Request for Federal drywall bailout submitted by Florida.
Is waste Chinese drywall too toxic to landfill?
Let's suppose they get the money and all the Chinese drywall in Florida is torn out and replaced with clean, Made-in-USA drywall. Do the repair crews get to put the waste Chinese drywall in a haul-off and send it to the landfill? Maybe so according to this information on Use of FGD Material in Florida: A State Perspective
Should scrap Chinese drywall be recycled?
No. What can be done with it?
I was going to jokingly suggest
it be tipped along with other coal burning residuals like fly and bottom ash before EPA gets a chance to make the rules for this more stringent. But, then, I realized some legislator would actually push for this to happen - so, scratch that joke.
This is better. Collect all the Chinese dry wall from all the surrounding states and use it to build a combination tourist attraction/storm wave barrier called the...
Great Dry Wall Of China.
Caveats: I am absolutely in favor of using on-spec FGD gypsum to make wallboard or do whatever else is economically feasible and safe by the standards of US manufacturers. There is nothing wrong with FGD gypsum or other synthetic gypsum sources as long as the supplier makes certain it passes whatever tests the wall board manufacturer requires to ensure that it is safe to handle and non-corrosive and non-toxic in the intended application.
Until this problem is better understood, we should not assume that whatever specific materials contaminated the gypsum in the first place are what directly caused the corrosion being observed. Biochemical transformations are possible. For example, elemental sulfur, in the presence of sufficient moisture and a bit of iron and some organics can be converted indirectly by sulfur and/or iron bacteria into H2S and SO2.
More Chinese drywall posts by Lloyd.
Toxic Drywall Rotting Houses, Sickening Occupants in Florida ...
Update: Toxic Drywall Could Be All Over The Place
Chinese Drywall Update: Feds Finally Notice
Chinese Drywall Update: Mainstream Media Takes Notice
Thousands of Homeowners Sick from Toxic Chinese Drywall
Who Says Greens Are Ignoring the Chinese Drywall Problem?