Congress last Wednesday announced the passage of H.R. 4212, which aims to regulate the manufacture and sale of drywall in the U.S. following the sale from 2001 to 2009 of imported product whose high sulfur levels were found to cause health problems and damage the infrastructure of homes in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
The bill requires domestic and imported drywall to be labeled with manufacturer information while calling on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to adopt as a limit on sulfur levels determined by ASTM International for domestic and imported products.
"For those whose lives have been turned upside down by Chinese drywall, we're trying to give them a chance to seek justice," the bill's sponsor Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, told the Sun-Sentinel last week. "It's not clear we will succeed, but this is the most serious effort undertaken to date to give people the opportunity to pursue the compensation they rightly deserve."
Still, some argue that the measures put forth don't do enough to ensure that contaminated drywall won't again enter the marketplace. ProPublica reports that home-building lobbyists were instrumental in raising drywall industry players' stakes in the new legislation by allowing them, through the ASTM committee, to set the voluntary sulfur limit.
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