NEW ORLEANS (AP) - NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- U.S. Sen. David Vitter has called forfederal officials to do a more thorough review of the deaths ofseveral people who lived in homes that contained smelly, possiblytoxic Chinese drywall.
Federal officials at the Consumer Product Safety Commission saidthey have investigated and found no link between the drywall andthe deaths of eight people. They said one of the deaths did noteven occur in a house with Chinese drywall.
Scott Wolfson, a spokesman for the safety commission, said thedeaths were promptly investigated by staff toxicologists,epidemiologists and other experts by telephone, except for a caseinvolving an asthmatic 9-year-old boy who died in Louisiana.Investigators went to his home and determined his death was notcaused by the wallboard, Wolfson said.
"There is no evidence through investigations and follow-up ofany correlation between Chinese drywall and the tragic fatalitiesreported to the CPSC," Wolfson said.
Vitter asked the safety commission and the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention to do more, though he didn't elaborate inhis letter Wednesday to the agencies.
"A thorough review of all reported deaths would help instillconfidence in your efforts and provide relief for many families,"the Louisiana Republican said.
CDC spokeswoman Bernadette Burden said the agency would reviewVitter's letter.
In November, the safety commission said it had found a possiblelink between respiratory irritation reported by homeowners andhigher-than-normal levels of hydrogen sulfide gas emitted from theimported Chinese wallboard coupled with formaldehyde, which iscommonly found in new houses.
The agency also said it was likely that wire and pipe corrosionin homes was caused by the imported wallboard.
About 3,000 homeowners, most of them in Florida, Virginia,Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, have reported problems with theChinese-made drywall. The consumer commission has reviewed 800homes, Wolfson said.
"This is the costliest investigation in our agency's history andinvolves the most number of staff dedicated to one issue," Wolfsonsaid.
The vast majority of complaints involve Chinese-made gypsumboard imported during the recent U.S. housing boom, when domesticbuilding materials were in short supply, and after the catastrophic2005 hurricane season.
Thousands of homeowners have been kept in limbo as hundreds oflawsuits against builders, contractors, suppliers and manufacturersare winding through the courts and the federal government developsaid plans.
Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, said affected homeownersdeserve to know the extent of any health threat. "And what they cando to get the problem fixed so they can live in their own houses,"he said.
Dr. Patricia Williams, a toxicologist at the University of NewOrleans hired by plaintiffs lawyers, said a more thorough probe waswarranted.
"Each person needs to be looked at individually," Williams said.She said her analyses of the Chinese drywall have found chemicalcompounds that can lead to death, particularly in people sufferingfrom lung and heart disease.
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