Chinese drywall refers to drywall (or wallboard) that was imported from China (from approximately 2001 to 2007). It emits a mixture of sulphur compounds resulting in “rotten egg” smell or sulphur odour. In addition to its awful smell, it can corrode metals and damage things like electrical wiring, air conditioner coils, appliances, electronics and copper plumbing.
Largely, the drywall from China was imported into the United States, however some came into British Columbia and made its way as far east as Toronto. There are class action lawsuits and settlements regarding Chinese drywall in the United States. The US CPSC has called for the replacement of all:
- problem drywall
- smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms
- electrical distribution components, including receptacles, switches and circuit breakers, but not necessarily wiring
- fusible-type fire sprinkler heads
The health effects of exposure are mainly upper respiratory and include eye and throat irritation, shortness of breath, nosebleeds, and dizziness.
If you think your home may contain Chinese drywall and are unsure, get it inspected!