Chinese drywall refers to drywall imported from China (from approximately 2001 to 2007) which contains extraneous metals and minerals, such as sulfur, strontium and iron. Under certain environmental conditions (typically warm, humid climates), the drywall will emit sulfur gasses. These gasses create a noxious odor; corroding copper and other metal surfaces. Therefore, damage can occur to the air conditioner, electrical wiring, copper plumbing, appliances and electronics.
Chinese drywall can also cause adverse health effects, which are primarily irritant and somewhat temporary in nature. However, long term health effects due to continuous exposure are unknown at this time.
Please note: Not all drywall manufactured in China is defective.
According to Dr. Patricia Williams, a University of New Orleans toxicologist, highly toxic compounds have been found in Chinese drywall. Prolonged exposure to these compounds can cause serious problems. The chemical compound, Strontium sulfide, may be dangerous to developing children as it affects bone growth. Chronic exposure to these gases may affect the central nervous system (including visual and sensory changes), cardiovascular system, eyes, kidneys, liver and skin.
Infants, children, the elderly (particularly those with heart and lung disease and diabetes) and pets may have an increased vulnerability to these gases and the particulates that are released from the drywall.
Radon can also be found in water. This is more common in private wells. The radon in your water supply poses an inhalation risk as well as an ingestion risk.