A few times each year, I have a friend or family member ask me about Chinese drywall. Drywall imported from China during the big building boom after hurricane Katrina had high levels of elemental sulfur, which caused problematic hydrogen sulfide emissions.
What? You don't know what that stuff is? That's OK, I don't either.
What I do know is that these emissions have a very strong rotten egg odor, cause major damage to homes by destroying copper, and cause health problems in the form of allergy-like symptoms, as well as headaches and nose bleeds. Homes that have Chinese Drywall are being completely gutted, because the repair requires replacement of the drywall and replacement of the copper in the home - plumbing pipes, electrical wires, electrical panels, air conditioners... etc.
Most of the tainted drywall ended up in Florida and the surrounding states, but wasn't limited to just those areas.
Do we have Chinese drywall in Minnesota?
Should we be worried about Chinese drywall in Minnesota?
To my knowledge, no. As of 1/7/11, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received two reports of Chinese drywall in Minnesota. There are no confirmed cases of this stuff in Minnesota, and I don't think we'll get any. Why? Because it's so bulky.
I don't think it makes sense to import drywall from China, then transport it all the way to Minnesota. At the time I'm writing this post, a 1/2"4'x8' sheet of drywall is selling for $4.40 at Home Depot. This sheet of drywall weighs 54 lbs. That comes out to about $0.08 / pound. I'm no expert on transportation, but I do know that the heavier and bulkier something is, the more it costs to transport.
So what about those two reports of Chinese drywall in Minnesota? All it takes to file a report with the CPSC is to fill out a form on their web site. I sent the CPSC an email asking about this, and they responded by sending me a 1.3 megabyte text file that contained database information of every case reported since 2005, along with a few other documents I assume were supposed to help interpret the data, but I found them to be quite useless. If you'd like to see the files yourself, I've posted them at my web site here.
Both reports for Minnesota were received by the CPSC in 2009; one was in Orono, the other in Burnsville. I wasn't able to figure out how to interpret the data, but a helpful person at the CPSC informed me that neither one of these were confirmed cases.
In other words, there hasn't been a single confirmed case of Chinese drywall in Minnesota.
Reuben Saltzman, Structure Tech Home Inspections