chinese-drywall(CNN) — Strontium sulfide, a material that can emit corrosive gases in moist air, was found at trace levels in testing of Chinese-made drywall, the Florida Department of Health said.

Gas emitted from defective drywall corrodes copper wiring, turning it black, some Florida homeowners say.

The drywall samples gave off a sulfurous odor when heated, and in at least one case, sulfide gases corroded copper coils in an air conditioner of a Florida home containing Chinese drywall, said the department, which commissioned the study.

But more testing is needed to determine whether strontium sulfide was causing the odor and contributing to the corrosion, the department said. And more tests are required to determine whether the drywall poses a threat to human health — a process that probably will take at least several months, state toxicologist Dr. David Krause told reporters Monday.

“It’s very hard to predict when we’ll have the answers [relating to possible health hazards]. … We’re moving as quickly as possible,” Krause said.

Concerns about Chinese-made drywall, which is suspected by some homeowners of ruining appliances and causing health problems, emerged in Florida last year but have transcended state lines, with class-action lawsuits alleging it has caused problems in at least three states: Florida, Louisiana and Alabama. The Florida Department of Health has received about 150 complaints, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says it is investigating the Florida allegations.

Homeowners’ lawsuits against certain manufacturers and suppliers contend the drywall has caused them to suffer health problems such as headaches and sore throats, and left them facing huge repair expenses. The drywall is alleged to emit sulfur-based gases that smell of rotten eggs and corrode piping and wiring, causing electronics and appliances to fail.

The Florida Department of Health said complaints there generally involve homes built between 2004 and 2007, around the time a building boom and post-hurricane reconstruction caused a U.S. drywall shortage and spurred builders to use imports.

Read the rest of the article here. http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/03/24/chinese.drywall/

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