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Letter to the Honorable Inez Moore Tenenbaum, Consumer Product Safety Commission

Today, Rep. Ted Deutch was joined by 22 Republican and Democratic colleagues on a letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission urging swift completion of the agency's scientific analysis on tainted Chinese drywall and final issuance of remediation guidelines for families dealing with this contaminated material in their homes. Since families in Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, Parkland, and other South Florida communities began reporting corrosive damage and health issues related to Chinese drywall in 2009, this tainted material has been discovered in thousands of homes across 38 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa.

"We are approaching a full year since the release of the CPSC's preliminary report, which confirmed this tainted drywall can corrode metal but has since left many homeowners in limbo while they wait for scientific results and final remediation guidelines," said Congressman Deutch. "The corrosive damage to home appliances caused by Chinese drywall, as well as the health and safety risks it poses, has forced many families to pay for alternative housing while staying current on mortgage payments for homes that are not fit to live in. Given we are already in very tough times, the additional financial burden weighing down on these families warrants a swifter response."

The letter was sent in advance of a meeting scheduled to take place tomorrow between Deutch and representatives from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Available for download here, the letter was co-signed by 22 Democrats and Republicans, including Spencer Bachus (AL-R), Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (FL-D), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-R), David Rivera (FL-R), Robert "Bobby" Scott (VA-D), Robert Wittman (VA-R), Vern Buchanan (FL-R), Corrine Brown (FL-D), Thomas Rooney (FL-R), Cedric Richmond (LA-2), Allen West (FL-R), Scott Rigell (VA-R), Dennis Ross (FL-R), Raul Grijalva (AZ-D), Steven Palazzo (MS-R), Randy Forbes (VA-R), Bruce Braley (IA-D), Steve Scalise (LA-R), Bill Posey (FL-R), Daniel Webster (FL-R), Sandy Adams (FL-R), and Alcee L. Hastings (FL-D).

Letter:

February 9th, 2011

The Honorable Inez Moore Tenenbaum
Consumer Product Safety Commission
4330 East West Highway
Bethesda, MD 20814

Dear Chairman Tenenbaum:

We are writing to urge the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to complete its scientific studies and release the final remediation guidance for homeowners with tainted Chinese drywall as soon as possible. Homeowners with tainted Chinese drywall have had their lives turned upside down and have been waiting for months for the final remediation guidance from the CPSC so that they can finally and fully repair their homes. It is well past time that the CPSC complete and release the final remediation guidance for Chinese drywall victims.

As you are aware, thousands of homeowners in thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa have been enduring an emergency situation in which tainted drywall from China has been causing ever worsening destruction and damage to their homes. In addition, homeowners and their families living in homes with tainted Chinese drywall have been experiencing serious health problems. The tainted drywall corrodes copper piping and wiring in homes, which causes the failure of air conditioning systems, telecommunications wiring, wiring for lighting, and other household appliances. Such corrosion produces potential fire and safety hazards in homes and causes undue financial hardship for homeowners who are constantly forced to replace and repair essential appliances.

Moreover, the damage to the housing structure caused by the tainted Chinese drywall and the health effects on families, forces many people to use their limited finances on alternative housing while also having to maintain the mortgages on homes that are uninhabitable.

On April 2, 2010, the CPSC released an Interim Remediation Guidance which "found a strong association between the presence of problem drywall and corrosion of metal in homes." The interim guidance report focused on the "replacement of problem drywall and building components for which drywall-induced corrosion might cause a safety problem." Yet the interim guidance report indicates that the April 2nd report was provided early, before the completion of "all ongoing scientific studies" on the effects of Chinese drywall. The early release of the guidance was in recognition that many homeowners with tainted Chinese drywall wanted to begin repairing their homes as soon as possible.

While the CPSC's early release of an Interim Remediation Guidance was helpful, many homeowners with tainted Chinese drywall are still waiting for all of the scientific studies to be completed and the issuance of the final remediation guidance before they being making repairs to their homes. Indeed, homeowners are rightfully concerned that the final remediation guidance may be substantially different from the Interim Remediation Guidance and require the replacement of additional structural elements of a home when removing the tainted Chinese drywall. We therefore urge the CPSC to complete all scientific studies and release the final remediation guidance for homeowners with tainted Chinese drywall in an expedited manner so that homeowners can complete the urgently needed repairs to their homes.

We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter and we look forward to a response. We also look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.

Sincerely,


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