Chinese Drywall Update by Spectrum Inspection Company

by Spectrum Inspection
(Las Vegas, NV)

Spectrum Inspection Group has been keeping abreast of the Chinese drywall situation so that we can keep the members of the real estate sales community, like you, informed about the subject. Chinese drywall is frequently a concern to many prospective home buyers coming into the Las Vegas area from the Southeast region of the United States.

Last October we reported to you that the number of cases reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) of Chinese Drywall in the State of Nevada had increased from three (3) reported cases to five (5) reported cases. That number has now increased to Seven (7) reported cases of Chinese drywall. Again it is important to reiterate that these are seven reported cases and they are not conclusive findings that the defective drywall is confirmed to exist. The investigations are ongoing.


For those of you who are not familiar with the Chinese drywall issue Chinese drywall was used extensively and primarily in the rebuilding and remodeling efforts in the Southeast region of the United States post hurricane Katrina. The drywall has been demonstrated to produce an invisible gas (Hydrogen Sulfide) that causes accelerated corrosion of copper components in the home including but not limited to: plumbing, electrical wiring, and air conditioner components.

It also causes accelerated deterioration of other components in the home that contain copper such as refrigerator coils, microwave oven circuitry, and home electronics including audio/visual components such as VCR's, televisions, DVD players, etc... High levels of Hydrogen Sulfide gas are also associated with many adverse health and/or respiratory issues.

The state with the largest number of reported Chinese drywall is (by far) Florida followed by Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Virginia. To date the CPSC has received about 3,886 reports from residents in 42 States, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico.
Recent Developments

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently contracted with Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EH&E), a very well respected and technologically advanced civilian engineering firm to conduct an investigation of a few homes where consumers have reported health and corrosion problems and where they also reported that the homes were built with what they identified as non-Chinese manufactured drywall (often referred to as "domestic drywall" by consumers).

CPSC staff selected 11 homes for the study. Homeowners self-reported that their homes were constructed with domestically produced drywall; and before undertaking this study, CPSC staff performed in-depth investigations to remove homes from the study where Chinese markings were clearly present. CPSC staff selected the homes, located in Florida (n=9), North Carolina (n=1), and Pennsylvania (n=1), from drywall-related consumer incident reports that the CPSC received between December 2008 and April 2010.

EH&E field teams visited the homes and scanned multiple locations on the walls in each home with an x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer as a screening tool to aid in detecting possible markers of problem drywall; collected drywall samples to analyze for orthorhombic sulfur; inspected ground wires and air handling units for corrosion; conducted air exchange, temperature, and humidity measurements; deployed passive air samplers for measuring indoor air concentrations of hydrogen sulfide and formaldehyde; placed strips of copper and silver metal called corrosion classification coupons in the homes to measure the rates and types of metal corrosion; and analyzed water samples to rule out alternate sources of sulfides in the homes.

Nine of the 11 homes (Homes A-E and H-K) had evidence of blackening of copper
wiring or cooling coils and were constructed/renovated in the relevant date range (2001-
2009). The full report can be found on

Level I Testing Appears Viable

The Level I testing procedure specified by the CPSC appears to provide a reliable indication of whether further testing and review is necessary. Again, this is primarily looking for indications of blackening of copper components in the home such as grounding wires in electrical systems, appliances, plumbing components, and air conditioner condenser evaporator coils.

Spectrum Inspection Group will continue to perform Level I Chinese drywall reviews on all homes we inspect that are built between 2001 and 2009 as a part of the scope of our standard inspection. In the nearly 40,000 Las Vegas Valley homes we have inspected we have only identified one (1) home that warranted further review and testing. Currently that home is in litigation and we are not privy to the results of the further testing. If or when the information becomes available we will be sharing it with you.
For Further Information...

Please review the following links to learn more about Chinese drywall from the CPSC, HUD, and other reputable sources.

And as always please feel free to give our office a call to discuss any concerns you may have.

The Drywall Information Center a collaborative Site of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD on problem drywall.



HUD and CPSC Issue Guidance on Identifying Problem Drywall in Homes

Interim Guidance - Identification of Homes with Corrosion from Problem Drywall

HUD's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program

CPSC Breakdown by State of Reported Chinese drywall

Spectrum Inspection Group website:

(702) 269-6716

Spectrum Inspection Group Inc.
8275 S. Eastern Avenue STE 121
Las Vegas, NV 89123

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Las Vegas Real Estate Blog.