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Chinese Drywall Is Toxic, Homeowners Claim

FORT MYERS, Fla. (CN) - A class action claims Knauf drywall is made with fly ash from scrubbers on coal-fired power plants and causes eye, nose, throat and lung problems and corrodes air conditioning, refrigerators, electrical wires and copper tubing. The class claims lead defendant Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co., of Tianjin, China, sold more than 10 million square feet of the defective drywall in Florida from 2004 to 2006, which was installed in thousands of homes.

Also sued are The Knauf Group of Germany, Rothchilt International of Taiwan, and Banner Supply Co. of Miami.

"Defendants negligently manufactured, processed, distributed, delivered, supplied, inspected, and/or sold defective drywall, which was unreasonably dangerous in its normal use in that the drywall caused corrosion to air-conditioning and refrigerator units, electrical wires and copper tubes, and caused allergic reactions, coughing, sinus and throat infection, eye irritation, breathing hazards and other health concerns," the federal complaint states.

"Defendants' drywall was made with waste material from scrubbers on coal-fired power plants, also called 'fly ash.' These materials can leak into the air and emit one of several sulfur compounds including sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide.

"When combined with moisture in the air, these sulfur compounds create sulfuric acid. Sulfuric acid has been known to dissolve solder joints, corrode coils and copper tubing - creating leaks, blackening coils and causing air-conditioners and refrigerators to fail. Sulfuric acid has also been shown to corrode electrical wiring. Not only does it blacken and corrodes coils, it can harm metals such as chrome, brass and silver.

"Defendants' defective drywall can not only affect air conditioners and refrigerators, but can affect and require replacement of all sorts of household items, including but not limited to microwaves, lighting fixtures, faucets and silverware.

"In addition, the defective drywall has a noxious odor, akin to the smell of rotten eggs. Upon information and belief, over 10 million square feet of defendants' defective drywall was used in the construction of Florida homes between 2004 and 2006. Defendants' actions will require plaintiffs and the plaintiff class members to remedy all defective drywall, performing extensive remedial repairs to the homes, and then repair the damaged property".

The class is represented by Jordan Chaikin with Parker Waichman & Alonso of Bonita Springs.

A second class action was filed in Miami-Dade County Court against Knauf, Rothchilt, Banner and others. These plaintiffs, represented by Mark Blumstein and J. Joseph Givner, both of Aventura, Fla., sued South Kendall Construction Corp., Palm Isles Holdings LLC, Keys Gate Realty Inc., Banner Supply Co., Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd., and Rothchilt International Ltd.

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