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Chinese Drywall

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   Although Chinese drywall was used in Pennsylvania, it is very rare. I have not seen any confirmed uses of Chinese Drywall in the Lancaster, Lebanon, Harrisburg or Reading areas.

  Remediation Guidance for Homes with Corrosion from Problem Drywall as of September 15, 2011 by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Introduction This Remediation Guidance summarizes what the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) believe is an effective approach to address potential health and safety issues for the remediation of houses affected by problem drywall, given the information now available.2 Initial studies found a strong association between the presence of problem drywall and corrosion of metal in homes. Based upon those findings, the CPSC and HUD have developed this Guidance, which focuses on the replacement of problem drywall and building components for which drywall-induced corrosion might cause a health or safety problem. This version supersedes prior versions of the Guidance. The CPSC and HUD recognize that many homeowners want to begin the process of repairing their homes. This revised Guidance is designed to be a conservative, commonsense approach to assist homeowners in making some of the challenging decisions they face remediating their homes. Should additional scientific information become available, which suggests that less extensive or less costly remediation methods would work, the CPSC and HUD will consider the evidence, and we will update our protocol, as appropriate.

Remediation Guidance This Remediation Guidance for homes with problem drywall calls for the replacement of all:

1. possible problem drywall;

2. smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms;

3. electrical distribution components (including receptacles, switches, and circuit breakers, but not necessarily wiring); and

4. fusible-type fire sprinkler heads.

All testing and remediation work should be conducted in compliance with applicable building codes, occupational safety and health standards, and environmental regulations. Gas service piping should be inspected and pressure-tested to ensure that the materials comply with the relevant building code(s), in accordance with the International Fuel Gas Code and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 54, National Fuel Gas Code.

1 This staff document has not been reviewed or approved by, and it may not necessarily reflect the views of, the Commission or the Department.

2 This Remediation Guidance is not intended to address any non-health and safety remediation requirements; nor does it address what, if any, additional elements of a home may require remediation in order to accomplish the principles set forth here. The Task Force recognizes that additional considerations for repair of economic damages have been included in both court-ordered remediation plans and voluntary remediation plans agreed upon by various parties, including homeowners and those in the supply chain. This Remediation Guidance does not address such economic considerations that lie outside the scope of health and safety, but that are nonetheless of great importance to all parties involved.

3 Glass bulb sprinkler heads should be tested or replaced in accordance with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 25, Standard for Testing and Inspection of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems. For corrosive environments (which should be assumed for the purpose of the remediation), NFPA Standard 25 calls for testing at 5- year intervals. When remediation is completed, the environment should no longer be treated as corrosive, and the expected life span of the fire sprinkler heads—normally 20 years—should apply.

 Discussion This Remediation Guidance addresses the emission of corrosive sulfur gases by problem drywall and the safety systems in the homes possibly affected by a corrosive environment by:

(1) eliminating the source of the corrosion—the problem drywall, and

(2) replacing certain building components for safety systems for which drywall-induced corrosion may affect performance, such as smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, electrical components, and fusible-type fire sprinkler heads, in addition to inspecting and testing gas service piping and glass bulb fire sprinkler heads. As a threshold matter, before remediation, care should be taken to determine whether the home contains problem drywall. CPSC staff and HUD staff issued guidance4 to assist in the identification of problem drywall. Where a home has been identified as having problem drywall, the scientific and practical challenges of finding individual problem sheets of drywall remain. Until such challenges are overcome, this Remediation Guidance calls for the general replacement of all drywall in an identified home. If some of the drywall in a home can be identified reasonably not to be problem drywall—because it is known to have been installed prior to the relevant time period (i.e., before 2001)—and if there are no other corroborating conditions (as provided in the CPSC and HUD guidance on identification), which indicates that the drywall is problem drywall, then one option would be to leave that drywall in place. This Guidance includes replacement of the home safety systems at greatest risk of being affected by drywallinduced corrosion that may affect their performance: smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms; electrical components (but not necessarily the wiring); and fusible-type fire sprinkler heads. In addition, glass bulb fire sprinkler heads should be tested or replaced in accordance to NFPA Standard 25, and gas distribution piping should be inspected and pressure-tested, in accordance with NFPA Standard 54. CPSC staff’s assessment of the effect of problem drywall-related corrosion on electrical distribution components, gas service piping, fire sprinkler heads, and smoke alarms has not revealed any safety-related failures.5,6,7,8,9 Corrosion of exposed electrical contact surfaces was observed on electrical devices harvested from affected homes, as well as on new devices subjected to an accelerated corrosion regimen at Sandia National Laboratories to simulate 40 years of exposure. However, although no significant degradation of the electrical connections to the devices was noted, extensive corrosion was present and replacement of receptacles, switches, ground-fault circuit interrupters, and circuit breakers is recommended, out of an abundance of caution. CPSC staff’s assessment of the effect of problem drywall-related corrosion on electrical distribution wiring indicated that exposed copper wires were corroded.4 However, the corrosion was superficial, and it did not reduce the overall cross-section of copper significantly. Thus, the corrosion did not decrease the wire’s ability to carry its rated current. Removal or cleaning of the exposed ends of the wiring to reveal a clean/uncorroded surface is recommended. Removal/replacement of cable runs is typically not necessary. , March 18, 2011., March 18, 2011., September 15, 2011., September 15, 2011., September 15, 2011. 9

One fusible-type sprinkler head out of the set of 18 tested failed to operate after being subjected to an accelerated corrosion regimen at Sandia National Laboratories to simulate 20 years of exposure to problem drywall. NIST analyzed but could not identify a definitive cause for the functional test failure of this sprinkler. Irrespective of this event, the Task Force recommends replacement of this type of sprinkler head, based on the changes that were observed.