The toxic threat of “Chinese drywall” to homes in Canada

While the risk of asbestos in home construction has been long recognized and action taken to stop it, a less well-known recent threat is the use of an extremely toxic drywall that was imported from China during the U.S. housing boom of 2004-2007 to satisfy the drywall shortage, and in response to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. Many thousands of homes in the U.S. have been irreparably damaged by this substance, and the homeowners sickened, leading to extensive lawsuits.

Although there was no similar shortage in Canada, the defective drywall found its way into the country through Vancouver and has reportedly spread to the Prairies and eastward to Toronto. By 2009, many homeowners in British Columbia had reported illnesses linked to its use. The full extent of the toxic drywall crisis in Canada has yet to be revealed.

The effects of “Chinese drywall” are devastating

The devastating effects of this drywall are caused by the toxic sulphide gas it emits. When the gas comes into contact with household humidity, it gives off a noxious odour as it erodes any exposed copper or lead in the home, with the following effects:

  • scorched and blackened wiring behind wall plugs and switchplates
  • corroded coils on air conditioning units
  • malfunctioning of light fixtures and other electrical equipment
  • blackened wiring in cable televisions and converters
  • ruining of personal property such as jewelry and silverware

As well, affected homeowners may develop respiratory problems, eye irritation, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, sore throat, and nosebleeds. Pets have died from exposure.

No repair is possible

Only a few sheets of the drywall can render homes unsafe and uninhabitable. The contaminated home cannot be repaired. The only possible recourse is to move out, gut the house, and rebuild the interior.

If you suspect that your new or renovated home may be contaminated with this drywall, have a proper inspection done by a qualified home inspection professional. The drywall can be identified by the manufacturing label of KNAUF PLASTERBOARD TIANJIN (KPT). If it is discovered in your home, then promptly seek legal advice to ensure that your right to future financial compensation for your potential losses is protected.

If you are in the Vancouver area, contact us to book a Vancouver home inspection today to check if Chinese drywall is present in your home.