AIHA Releases Corrosive Drywall White Paper

The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) recently released a white paper in an effort to identify the problems posed by corrosive drywall as well as the role of science in understanding the resulting safety and health issues.

Corrosive drywall (CDW) was installed in tens of thousands of individual homes, as well as larger buildings, as early as 2001. Most of these structures are located in, but not limited to, Florida, Louisiana and Virginia. While some builders have remediated CDW by replacing all drywall in homes, many homeowners and builders are waiting for funding and verification of more efficient repair methods.

Medical studies evaluating the health of persons residing in CDW homes are limited. The physicians considered study findings preliminary and recommended further research. No studies currently are underway to evaluate this significant public concern.

To address the concerns regarding the use and handling of CDW, AIHA is urging immediate scientific research to address the following areas of uncertainty:

  • Etiologic mechanisms for the release of sulfide gases;
  • Emission rates and duration;
  • Characterization of specific chemicals in emissions and their potential contribution to corrosion, odor and irritation;
  • How emissions change over time and under varying environmental conditions;
  • Occupant health risks;
  • Operational implications of electrical and mechanical components with and without blackening; and
  • Worker exposure during CDW demolition and cleanup.

The white paper was developed by the Corrosive Drywall Project Team comprising members of the Construction and Indoor Environmental Quality Committees and is additionally sponsored by AIHA’s Biosafety and Environmental Microbiology Committee. It can be downloaded as a PDF at http://www.aiha.org/news-pubs/govtaffairs/Documents/W-Corrosive%20Drywall-10-10-10.pdf.

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