NORFOLK, Va. - The alleged faulty Chinese drywall crisis has hit all parts ofthe country, leading to class action lawsuits. It's estimatedbetween 60,000 and 100,000 homes nationwide may contain the tainteddrywall.
A class action lawsuit claims the drywall has a sulfur smellthat emits a "rotten egg" smell, and that the drywall ruinselectrical systems, causes health problems, and in the end, ruinsproperty values.
But what exactly is in the drywall that causes all these allegedproblems?
To find out what is in the drywall WAVY.com took ourinvestigation to a chemistry lab at Old Dominion University.
"This is a sample of the Chinese drywall," WAVY.com said to Dr.Greg Cutter who specializes in measuring low levels of hydrogensulfide - a chemical that smells like rotten eggs.
That Chinese drywall came from Sam Porter's warehouse inNorfolk. He imported 100,000 sheets from China and most of it stillremains because people claim they smell rotten eggs in the drywall.He says he can't sell it and still has 65,000 sheets of it. SamPorter says he can't smell any rotten eggs, which has beenconfirmed; WAVY.com couldn't smell it either.
"I don't smell it. You would think with all this drywall I wouldsmell it...I don't smell anything," Porter says.
The Dragas Companies - now replacing drywall in scores of homesthat had it installed between March 2006 and the end of 2008 eventhough Dragas Chief Operating Officer John Buckley can't smell therotten eggs either.
"It doesn't smell like rotten eggs. That's a fallacy."
The Dragas Company's replacing the drywall because of thepossibility the drywall corrodes copper coils in air conditioningunits. The company also fears bad public relations and due to theclass action lawsuit, which Dragas is not included in.
Lisa Dunaway's Franklin home was built with Sam Porter's Chinesedrywall.
"There were times when I'd tell my husband when I got out of theshower, that I smelled something," Dunaway said. She could not,however, describe it as a "rotten egg" smell.
WAVY.com wanted to know exactly how much of the stinkinghydrogen sulfide is in the Chinese drywall?
Dr. Cutter and ODU Graduate student Carie Lingle ground up somesamples of the Chinese drywall and tested it in a gaschromatograph, which will isolate the amount of hydrogen sulfide inthe drywall. The test is too complicated to detail for you, but inthe end there was indeed hydrogen sulfide in the Chinese drywall,however only a miniscule amount.
"The amount is in parts, per trillion, which you would never beable to detect with your nose," Cutter said.
We also gave Cutter and Lingle some US drywall. WAVY.com foundthe US Drywall had .2 parts per million hydrogen sulfide, while theChinese drywall had almost 10 times that. That's an amount that canbe smelled, but only when mixed with an acid. Cutter is puzzled,even befuddled why acid like hydrochloric acid would be mixed withdrywall?
"I can't tell you that, but they can't smell it at that level.It is impossible."
As far as it being a health risk - The Chesapeake HealthDepartment is monitoring the health risks. Dr. Nancy Welch says sofar her investigation shows no evidence the drywall is medicallyharmful.
If you actually have this rotten egg smell in your home, emailAndy Fox at email@example.com. He will continue to investigate.
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