Tonight the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4212, the bipartisan Drywall Safety Act of 2012, offered by Congressman Scott Rigell, to prevent Americans from suffering the devastating effects of contaminated drywall imported from other countries including China. The legislation sets chemical standards for domestic and imported drywall; establishes remediation guidelines for disposal of all drywall; and expresses a sense of Congress that China must be held accountable for the damage this product has already caused in our community and across America. The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
"This is a bill about protecting American families - their health and financial well being. Too many of our local families have suffered enough, and it is up to Congress to ensure that preventative standards are in place so no American family is faced with the hardship and heartache from contaminated drywall ever again," said Rigell, co-chair of the bipartisan Contaminated Drywall Caucus which has worked to put forth legislation to address this issue since the beginning of the 112thCongress. "This legislation is the right step in protecting our friends and neighbors. But China must also be held accountable for the devastation this product has already caused, and we will continue to fight for these victims as well."
H.R. 4212 is the culmination of nearly two years of work by the Contaminated Drywall Caucus, which Rigell co-chairs with Democrat Ted Deutch of Florida. A full list of the caucus' membership and actions to date can be found on the Contaminated Drywall Caucus website at this link: http://contaminateddrywallcaucus-rigell.house.gov
Specifically, the Drywall Safety Act of 2012 achieves the following:
Expresses a sense of Congress that the Chinese manufacturers need to come to the table and make restitution to the victims.
Institutes a labeling requirement so that contaminated drywall can be traced to the manufacturer.
Sets chemical standards to limit the amount of sulfur that can be present in domestic and imported drywall.
Requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to update its remediation guidelines to prevent contaminated drywall from being recycled or reused.
Background on contaminated drywall:
Contaminated Chinese-manufactured drywall was imported and used in home construction from approximately 2001-2009. Some of that material was used in Hampton Roads construction.
Scientific studies have shown this drywall to cause a corrosive environment for fire alarm systems, electrical distribution systems, gas piping, and refrigeration coils.
The CPSC has received reports of contaminated Chinese drywall in more than 3,991 homes in 43 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico.
The Chinese manufacturers, some of which are state owned, have refused to submit to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.
Reports from homeowners indicate that some contaminated drywall may be entering the recycling stream for use in new home construction or renovation.