Drywall Contamination - General Information

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as well as numerous other State Health Departments have investigated complaints regarding: “rotten-egg” odors in homes, medical ailments expressed by home occupants including, upper respiratory problems, nose bleeds, unexplained rashes, and/or severe allergy-type symptoms. These complaints also included corrosion of copper pipes, copper tubes and copper wires, and many failures of copper air conditioning coils. The cause of these conditions has been attributed to imported drywall that was manufactured with a high concentration of sulfur and strontium which emit copper sulfide fumes into homes when there are high levels of heat and humidity.

Homes, apartments, and condominiums built or remodeled between 2001 and 2008 may potentially have contaminated drywall. Environmental testing found defective drywall in 41 states including, but not limited to: Florida, the Gulf Coast region, Virginia, California, Arizona, Nevada, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Texas. Thus far, there have been no such cases reported to the City of Wheaton Building Department associated with sulfur contaminated drywall.

In April of 2010, the CPSC and HUD issued guidelines that discuss how to identify and repair homes with contaminated drywall, these guidelines are available at the following websites:

  • HUD and CPSC Issue Guidance on Identifying Problem Drywall in Homes.
  • HUD and CPSC Issue Guidance on Repairing Homes with Problem Drywall.
  • Interim Remediation Guidance for Homes with Corrosion from Problem Drywall.
  • CPSC Investigation of Imported Drywall.

It is the property owner’s responsibility to conduct any and all investigatory work necessary to determine the cause(s) of an unknown condition within their home. Once contaminated drywall has been confirmed, CPSC guidelines for remedial actions are quite extensive including the removal of all drywall, electrical wiring, fire alarms, copper water piping, and copper air-conditioning tubing. Prior to beginning the remediation work, a building permit must be obtained from the City of Wheaton Building Department. General questions regarding the building permit application submittal should be directed to 630-260-2050.

Revised 5/14/2010