This week in safety: Drywall FAQs

Consumer Reports News: May 29, 2009 03:48 PM

In an effort to better help affected homeowners, the Consumer Product Safety Commission this week created a drywall information center on it's Web site. The agency has received more than 365 reports from residents in 18 states and the District of Columbia who believe their health symptoms or the corrosion of certain metal components in their homes are related to the presence of drywall produced in China. State and local authorities have received far more reports, especially in the states of Florida and Louisiana.

Tests of the Chinese-made drywall conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that it contains at least three materials not found in drywall produced in the U.S. The tested drywall contained sulfur, strontium at levels ten times as high as in U.S. drywall and two other organic compounds generally found in acrylic paint that have not been detected in any U.S.-made wallboard.

“We now know there are three things in there that aren’t in other drywall samples,” said Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) who has been working to provide homeowners with relief. “We’ve got the ‘what’ and now we need the ‘why’—and, how do we fix it? In the end, I think all this stuff is going to have to be ripped out.”

Some homeowners spoke to the Miami Herald about their drywall problems in this video.

More news
Nancy Nord stepping aside as acting chairman at CPSC

The Associated Press
The Consumer Product Safety Commission gets a new chief, at least temporarily, next week. Acting Chair Nancy Nord plans to step down and fellow commissioner Thomas Moore will take over as acting head on June 1 until a new chairman is confirmed by the Senate. (Inez Tenenbaum has been tapped to lead the CPSC.) Read more ...

House calls for closer watch on food supply
The Washington Post
The nation's complex food supply chain would become more transparent, inspections of food facilities would become more frequent and manufacturers would be required to take steps aimed at preventing food-borne illnesses under legislation proposed yesterday by key House leaders who have pledged to modernize the food safety system. Read more ...

Cigarette butts: Tiny trash that piles up
The New York Times
Some smokers see cigarette butts as a more natural kind of trash than, say, a plastic bottle. But they are not biodegradable: They contain plastic filters that enter sewers and storm drains, and get swept into rivers and then out to sea, where they can release toxic chemicals including nicotine, benzene and cadmium. Read more ...

The price of cheap: When China's products fail, Americans suffer
Fox News.com
Chinese products account for more than 60 percent of U.S. recalls each year, according the CPSC. While Congress has made significant strides in regulating Chinese goods many argue that American product liability law is still the backstop of safety for American consumers. Read more ...

A simple smooch or a toxic smack?
The New York Times
The debate seems to resurface every few years. Do some lipsticks contain lead? If so, is the amount so negligible that consumers have nothing to be concerned about? Or will all those years of applying lipstick several times a day add up to a worrisome accumulation of a dangerous substance? Read more ...

Not just fun and games: Playgrounds present health and safety risks
Medill Reports/ Northwestern University
It’s a sound of summer: children’s laughter as they whoosh down a slide, fly high on a swing or finally
make it across those monkey bars. But for all the happy childhood memories associated with playgrounds, those neighborhood gathering places present hazards of their own. Read more ...

Battle wages over the use of cell phones in cars
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Figuring out how to keep the eyes, hands and minds of drivers focused on the road has become quite popular these days. Lawmakers, activists and cell phone users across the nation are fighting over what we can and cannot do while zipping down an interstate at 60 mph. The desire to regulate cell phones isn't new, but the intensity is. Read more ...

Study: Youth baseball injuries down 25 percent
Dayton Daily News
Researchers in Ohio say emergency rooms are seeing 25 percent fewer kids and teens with baseball injuries than in the mid-1990s. Dr. Gary Smith at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus says the decline may reflect the increased use of protective gear, such as mouth guards and reduced-impact safety baseballs. Read more ...

Product liability prevention: Even more important in tough economic times
Product Safety Letter
Tough economic times are hard on everyone. All too often, companies try to cut costs by eliminating or reducing personnel who are involved in product liability prevention (PLP) activities such as product safety, regulatory compliance, and quality. In many cases, this is not a good idea. Cutting corners in the short-term can cause long-term problems. Read more ...

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