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Chinese Drywall Update: First Congressional Hearing Held Yesterday

The Chinese Drywall issue is officially gaining national attention as the situation unfolds and more and more areas are affected—as demonstrated during a heated congressional hearing on the topic held yesterday. (Now that some additional states are involved, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson's pleas are receiving much more attention).

"Prodded by Congress, the federal investigation into the tainted Chinese drywall has shifted into overdrive," read the opening line of a Sun Sentinel article on the topic this morning. The hearing included testimony from homeowners like, Richard Kampf who detailed corroded air conditioner coils, blackened mirrors and the daily nose bleeds from which he is now suffering.

It is estimated that the issue is affecting about 100,000 homes nationwide, but state and federal officials have only heard from a few hundred consumers. This creates a bit of a road block in helping those homeowners affected, since government officials will need to see that there really is a need for government assistance before stepping in. So, websites have been set up and the Senate was to vote yesterday on a bill containing $2 million, part of which was to be used to raise public awareness.

Sen. Bill Nelson has even suggested that FEMA be involved due to the extent of the situation and the impact it is having on homeowners, which he calls no different than that of a natural disaster.

So what was the result? Well, for now, more waiting for affected homeowners. Health and consumer-protection officials assured the Senate panel that they were moving as fast as they could, but they did not provide any timetable for homeowners to receive relief and so far the only real result is that more testing will be done.

Consumer Product Safety Commission health sciences director, Lori Saltzman is not holding her breath on that two million dollars that would help further facilitate testing either—investigations are currently underway while congress “considers funds.” Testing will take place in June.

This is certainly a step in the right direction for consumer safety—but I’m sure there is much more to come on this topic! U.S. Inspect will continue to stay up-to-date on this important issue and share news as it develops.

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More from David on Chinese Drywall: What is Chinese Drywall?