Quiz: Do you have Toxic Chinese Drywall in your Home?

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

You may have a problem with your walls and ceilings if Chinese drywall was used in their construction. Complaints by consumers have uncovered the fact that some of the Chinese drywall used in the last several years was tainted with toxic chemicals. Take this quiz now to find out if you have enough information to ensure that your walls are safe.

Your home likely has walls made from sheets of drywall if it was built after when?

Most homes that were built after World War II have walls and ceilings constructed with sheets of drywall. Drywall allowed homes to be constructed much faster and quite a bit cheaper than using plaster.


What material is used to make drywall?

Drywall is manufactured with naturally occurring mineral called gypsum. Other additives are mixed with the gypsum and water to make a slurry that is applied to paper.


Approximately how many tons of drywall are produced annually in the United States?

Drywall manufacturers in America produce about 15 million tons of drywall annually. Under normal circumstances, this is enough drywall to satisfy consumer demand and have leftovers for exporting.


What phenomena prompted American builders to seek drywall outside the United States?

Unprecedented growth in the real estate industry between 2001 and 2005 prompted demand for nondomestic sources of drywall. Manufacturers within the U.S. simply could not meet the exceptional demand for drywall.


How much drywall did the United States import from China between 2004 and 2008?

According to data published in TIME, the U.S. imported about 550 million pounds (247.5 million kilograms) of drywall produced in China between 2004 and 2006. This means that some 100,000 American homes contain drywall that could be hazardous.


Why did some American builders prefer to use Chinese drywall, even before there was a shortage of it in the U.S.?

Chinese drywall cost eight to 15 cents less per sheet than domestic drywall. Such savings were significant to a contractor building hundreds of homes.


What prompted the eventual discovery of problems related to Chinese drywall?

Homeowners were searching for a cause for bad smells, early appliance failures and unexplained health problems. It took extensive investigation to determine that the problems were originating with imported drywall.


How do consumers typically describe the smell originating from their walls?

Consumers most often describe the foul odor emanating from Chinese wallboard as rotting eggs. The most common chemical that gives off a rotten egg smell is hydrogen sulfide.


Besides a foul odor, what else is considered a classic symptom of tainted Chinese drywall

Another common indicator of tainted Chinese drywall is the constant failure of electrical appliances and electronic components. However, it's important to remember that these symptoms only point to a possible drywall issue if the home was built or renovated between 2005 and 2008.


What company was eventually found to be the source of the bulk of tainted Chinese drywall?

The bulk of tainted drywall was traced to a Chinese manufacturer named Knauf Plasterboard Tinajin Co. Ltd. This company initially refused to accept any responsibility for the drywall, claiming that it came from another company.


What did the implicated company do once investigation proved that the product originated with them?

They claimed that they no longer used the only mine where the tainted gypsum originated and that it was safe to continue using their products.


According to recent data, how many homes are suspected of containing toxic gypsum drywall?

According to PR Newswire, recent data suggest that approximately 100,000 American homes in 41 states contain tainted drywall. Not all homes containing the Chinese product are likely to have toxic fumes.


If tainted drywall was used for construction in at least 41 states, why is the problem much worse in Florida?

The heat and humidity typical for Florida and other coastal areas tends to intensify off-gassing of toxic vapors from the drywall.


What is the status of a U.S. federal bill to study, find solutions to and institute financial compensation for the problem with imported drywall?

The Drywall Safety Act of 2009 was still referred to committee as of December 2010 and was considered not likely to ever pass. According to chinesedrywallblog.com, three U. S. senators have recently petitioned the Internal Revenue Service to interpret how 165(h) of the tax code, which allows taxpayers to deduct casualty losses, applies to losses from Chinese drywall.


What should you do if you suspect your home contains toxic Chinese drywall?

If you suspect that your home has toxic drywall, you can call the Homeowners Consumer Center toll free at 866-714-6466 or visit their Web site at www.homeownersconsumercenter.com.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!