The American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) has released a white paper on corrosive drywall (CDW) found to have been used in some U.S. homes built or renovated starting in approximately 2001 through approximately 2007. Most of the complaints related to CDW have occurred in Florida, Louisiana, and Virginia, although there have been reports of complaints in other states, as reported by the Florida Department of Health. Noxious odors (e.g., smell resembling a burnt match), visible corrosion of copper and silver items, and health concerns have been associated with the installation of drywall.
The document briefly indentifies the problems which are believed to be caused by CDW, suggestions on evaluation, discussion of remediation with comments on the known data, and suggestions for more research. Citations are provided throughout the document to support the provided data and to allow for further research on the subject matter. The intent of the document is to help to clarify existing information and provide recommendations to promote future research in all areas of this problem.
I have read the paper through, but I have not attempted any critical review based upon the citations; however, based upon a review of this document, it is clear that it is difficult and impractical in some cases to fully evaluate a home under consideration for purchase for this type of defect. Evaluation for this type of defect exceeds most, if not all, standards of practice for a visual inspection by engineers and home inspectors and, clearly, there are problems in detection even when air quality experts attempt to find and quantify suspected problems. Even a minimal evaluation during a home inspection would require disassembly of components in a home at representative locations or of equipment which is not normally disassembled. In some cases, a licensed technician is necessary to perform such disassembly for an adequate evaluation. Further information in the document stresses the need for a maintenance history of the building to detect problems because off-gassing and its damaging effects may not be consistent, and the resulting odors or damages may not be apparent at the time of evaluation. It is difficult enough to get basic information on the age of the roof and history of known defects, such as foundation repairs, so it is doubtful such a history will be available from most homeowners.
The document is clear to point out that there is a lack of clear and specific scientific information due to difficulties in field testing inherent to the problem of CDW. This is apparently the point of the paper, that there is a specific need for coordination in the community to tackle this complex problem.