CPSC Concludes Drywall Investigation, Promises Standards

The agency said it will work with voluntary standards organizations to prevent this type of problem from happening again.

Federal agencies studying "problem drywall" that prompted consumer complaints in the past three years have completed their analyses, with the Consumer Product Safety Commission and HUD not recommending that gas service piping be removed from affected homes. Glass bulb fire sprinkler heads and gas distribution piping should be inspected, they say, and "any test failures should be corrected according to all applicable building codes."

However, the CPSC staff recommends that affected homeowners replace their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms as part of remediation.

NIST analyzed smoke alarms, fire sprinkler heads, and gas service piping and did not find corrosion associated with problem drywall that provided evidence of a substantial product safety hazard, as defined by the Consumer Product Safety Act.

In all, CPSC received 3,905 reports of drywall problems from 42 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico. The agency began investigating drywall in 2009 and involved HUD, CDC, EPA, national laboratories, and the U.S. Geological Survey. CPSC said it developed contracts to research and test problem drywall, visited Chinese mines and manufacturers, hosted a public website to keep the public informed, and devoted thousands of staff hours and millions of dollars to the investigation.

"Going forward, CPSC staff continues to work with voluntary standards organizations to develop improved standards for drywall to prevent this type of problem from reemerging. The standard setting body ASTM International Inc. is also moving to require that all drywall sheets are marked with the manufacturer's name or a unique identification code, the manufacture date, and the source materials," the agency said. "As the federal investigation into problem drywall concludes, CPSC staff believes that the extensive research and testing have been successful in defining the scope of the problem drywall issue, in producing identification and remediation protocols, and in providing homeowners with all the assistance possible within the agency's jurisdiction and appropriated funds authority. The agency will continue to provide information to and work with members of Congress and agency partners to support policy options that may be beneficial to impacted homeowners."

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