Last night the White House announced that President Obama signed into law Congressman Scott Rigell's Drywall Safety Act of 2012. 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 across America. See the White House statement here.
"This is a major victory in the fight to protect American families from the effects of toxic drywall," said Rigell, who represents Virginia's Second Congressional District, one area which was particularly hard hit by the faulty building material. "I am proud to have worked with my colleagues across the aisle, around the country, and in both chambers of Congress to get this important piece of legislation signed into law.
"This is a great step, but I also know there is more to be done to make the existing victims whole. I will not rest until we have explored every avenue to do so."
Rigell's Drywall Safety Act of 2012 accomplishes the following:
Expresses a Sense of Congress that the Chinese manufacturers need to make restitution to the victims.
Institutes a labeling requirement so that defective 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, allowing the Consumer Product Safety Commission two years to promulgate a rule pertaining to sulfur content.
Requires the Consumer Product Safety Commission to update their remediation guidelines to prevent contaminated drywall from being reused or recycled.
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 Consumer Product Safety Commission 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.