WASHINGTON –- President Barack Obama has signed a bill Lawmakers hope will prevent further Chinese drywall problems.
The legislation is designed to keep toxic drywall from entering the U.S.
The Drywall Safety Act of 2012 was introduced by Rep. Scott Rigell(R-2nd D.) and adopted by the U.S. House last summer. An amendment offered by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) resulted in Senate passage of the bill earlier this week, and the House endorsed the amended legislation Tuesday night on a 378-37 vote.
“People who have been so affected by Chinese drywall really had no recourse and they really had no voice," Rigell said Thursday.
He admits this particular bill won't help people facing problems right now.
"No, not directly," he stated, "We’ve expressed the will of the American people through the Congress, that manufacturers in China need to stand behind and make whole, um, American homeowners who have been hurt by this product that they shipped to America. So, I think there is a reason for hope here, but I don’t want to overstate it. It is principally directed at preventing homeowners in the future from having both their health and their homes damaged because of defective drywall."
According to Sen. Warner, the Consumer Product Safety Commission will develop and enforce standards for the sulfur content of drywall, product labeling and more.
Since 2009, hundreds of Virginia families, primarily in Hampton Roads, have been exposed to tainted drywall used in their homes, lawmakers noted.
Sen. Warner says tests found that high-sulfur drywall, much of it imported from China during the peak years of the building boom, emits sulfide gases that corrode copper coils in air conditioning systems, as well as wiring in appliances and electrical outlets.