02/25/2011 02:12 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

U.S. Families Get Help With Pilot Program for Chinese Drywall Remediation

In my original blog in 2009 about Chinese drywall, there was limited information, and hearings were just beginning. However, in the past month, we have learned of a pilot program where Chinese companies are compensating U.S. victims for toxic drywall remediation. Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin is actually taking the lead to make it right on the toxic drywall issue

Drywall Drama

Today, we have to remember that U.S. plaintiffs are suing Chinese corporations that are partially owned by the Chinese government. We must begin to hope that Knauf will continue this pilot program, a first for a drywall company, with the admission that the corrosive levels of hydrogen sulfide created a toxic plume off-gas that smelled like rotten eggs.

With over 20 million drywall sheets entering the U.S., it is believed that over 42 states, as well as Puerto Rico and American Samoa, were affected by off-gassing of Chinese drywall. According to CNN, "...the toxic gas is so strong that it actually corrodes copper wiring which turns black, and causes other electronics and appliances to fail" (, March 18, 2009 and May 6, 2009).

Imagine being a victim of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, rebuilding your home in 2006 and 2007 with all the insurance money and by 2009 becoming a victim a second time. This time, you are forced out of your own home due to toxic off-gassing. And at the same time, you learn that your homeowners insurance will not cover repairs because the original product is known to be defective!

Other Solutions

Recently, we learned about an American firm, RISS Systems, that is trying to generate awareness of their patented filtration product that helps families affected by indoor toxins. They have held meetings on Capital Hill to tell legislators, and they have installed one within the Mississippi region. The RISS System is installed within HVAC systems to filter toxins out of the air and costs close to $6,000, with a measurable result within one week.

The fee for RISS sounds expensive, but isn't it far more expensive to a family who cannot live in a toxic home with a mortgage, especially when the insurance does not cover the repairs, ultimately creating a cascade effect of financial ruin, health issues and the family having to find alternative lodging?

Overdue Discussions

Drywall remediation is long overdue, and it is a first to hear that Knauf, a Chinese firm, is taking the lead in making it right for families in the U.S. It is sad that the other companies -- such as Taishan Gypsum (owned by the Chinese government) -- will not come to the table to even begin discussions. Perhaps they will recognize that it is time to come to the table to do the right thing for families, who have now been victimized twice. It is time for filtration solutions and drywall remediation now!