Federal government issues new drywall findings

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued updatedremediation protocol” on March 18 to consumers and contractors dealing with problem drywall. 

A study conducted on behalf of CPSC by Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico found no evidence of a safety hazard to home electrical systems, the announcement said. Based on this study, the CPSC and HUD are no longer recommending the removal of all electrical wiring in homes with problem drywall. This change in the government's protocol may reduce the cost of remediation for many homes.

After simulating more than 40 years of corrosive conditions that could exist in problem drywall homes, Sandia staff did not observe any acute or long-term electrical safety events, such as smoking or fire. Corrosion and blackening of the exposed electrical components did occur and was observed to be consistent with the characteristic corrosion reported to CPSC by thousands of consumers. Based on this study, it is the belief of the staffs of CPSC, HUD and Sandia that long-term exposure of wiring and other electrical components to hydrogen sulfide gases does not indicate a safety hazard to a home's electrical systems.

With these changes, the remediation guidance for homes with problem drywall calls for the replacement of all:

• problem drywall; 
• fire safety alarm devices, including smoke and carbon monoxide alarms; and
• electrical distribution components, including receptacles, switches and circuit breakers.

The CPSC and HUD staffs are also issuing an updated identification guidance, which broadens the range of installation years of affected homes to include homes where drywall was installed as late as 2009. Importantly, the drywall installed in 2009 had been previously imported during the years 2006 to 2007 and does not represent any new importation of problem drywall. 

For additional findings from the Interagency Drywall Task Force's investigation, visit DrywallResponse.gov.