[StBernard] Rep. Melancon, St. Bernard Fire Chief Warn of Chinese Drywall Dangers

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Wed Apr 7 08:42:31 EDT 2010

Rep. Melancon, St. Bernard Fire Chief Warn of Chinese Drywall Dangers
April 6, 2010by Louisiana RealEstateRama

Federal Agency Announced Friday that Homes with Drywall Must be Gutted

WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 6, 2010 - (RealEstateRama) -Today, Congressman
Charlie Melancon (LA-03) toured St. Bernard Fire Chief Thomas Stone's home
in Chalmette, inspecting the extensive damage caused by toxic Chinese
drywall. They discussed how the toxic substances in the wallboard can create
a fire hazard. Congressman Melancon also gave an update on pending
legislation he is working for in Congress that would help homeowners cope
with defective Chinese drywall.

"Louisiana homeowners with toxic Chinese drywall have been waiting in limbo
for months, unsure of what they must do to make their homes safe again,"
said Rep. Melancon. "With the federal government's announcement last Friday
that drywall victims should completely gut their homes, it is crystal clear
how serious a problem we are facing.

"Now that we know what must be done to fix the problem, I will be working
with our state and local leaders to help Louisiana families make their homes
safe again. We must fight for legislation both in Washington and here in
Louisiana that will hold accountable the manufacturers who sold defective
drywall to homeowners. These companies are not playing by our safety rules,
and Americans are paying the price.

"And we must also hold insurance companies accountable, so they don't drop
coverage for homeowners with Chinese drywall. My bill, the Drywall Victims
Insurance Protection Act, would give homeowners peace of mind that they
won't lose their insurance while they repair their homes, and I will fight
to get it passed in Congress."

On Friday, the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission released official
guidance recommending that homeowners with toxic Chinese drywall remove all
possible problem drywall from their homes. The CPSC also recommended that
homeowners with the defective drywall replace electrical components and
wiring, gas service piping, fire suppression sprinkler systems, smoke alarms
and carbon monoxide alarms. More information is posted online at
www.drywallresponse.gov .

Congressman Melancon has been an advocate in Congress for Louisiana
homeowners with toxic Chinese drywall in their homes. Congressman Melancon
has co-sponsored bipartisan legislation that would hold foreign
manufacturers accountable for selling defective and dangerous products like
Chinese drywall in the United States. The Foreign Manufacturers Legal
Accountability Act (H.R. 4678) would help protect American consumers and
businesses from defective products manufactured abroad by requiring foreign
companies to register an agent who would answer for them in a U.S. court of

Last November, Congressman Melancon authored legislation to prevent
insurance companies from cancelling or failing to renew homeowners' policies
as the result of Chinese drywall in the home. The Drywall Victims Insurance
Protection Act (H.R. 4094) would prevent insurance companies from cancelling
or failing to renew homeowners' policies as the result of finding Chinese
drywall in the home. The bill would also prevent insurers from changing
rates or altering the type or amount of coverage based on problems stemming
from Chinese drywall. The Drywall Victims Insurance Protection Act would
also protect homeowners' rights to sue their insurance companies if their
coverage is dropped because of Chinese drywall problems.

Last month, Congressman Melancon sent a letter to the nation's top fire
official requesting his assistance in protecting homeowners from toxic
Chinese drywall. In his letter to U.S. Fire Administrator Kelvin Cochran,
Congressman Melancon noted that corrosion of electrical wiring caused by
toxic Chinese drywall could pose a serious fire hazard for homeowners.

Many homeowners have reported that defective Chinese drywall in their homes
emits sulfur, methane and other fumes that have damaged their homes and pose
a serious health risk for residents. Reported health problems include
nosebleeds, respiratory ailments, headaches, insomnia, and skin irritation.

According the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 7 million sheets of
Chinese drywall were imported between 2000 and 2009 - enough to have built
tens of thousands of homes. Some consumer advocates have estimated that the
cost of property damage could reach $3 billion. The problem could become
especially serious in Louisiana, where thousands of new homes were rebuilt
after Hurricane Katrina, many using Chinese drywall.

Over 3,000 homeowners nationwide have filed Chinese drywall complaints with
the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Homeowners who suspect they may have contaminated drywall are encouraged to
file complaints with the Louisiana Recovery Authority by going to
http://lra.louisiana.gov/ and clicking on the "contaminated drywall
information" button. Consumers are also encouraged to file complaints with
the Louisiana Attorney General's Office at 800-351-4889 or
www.agbuddycaldwell.com and the Consumer Product Safety Commission at
1-800-638-2772 or www.cpsc.gov/info/drywall/index.html

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