NC joins states affected by Chinese drywall

April 21, 2009 5:43:44 PM PDT
The Flannigan home in Holly Springs looks nice but, there's much more to it that meets the eye. "Spending a lot of time in here just gives you a headache, and your eyes are somewhat irritated," Mary Flannigan told Eyewitness News.

The symptoms, according to a lawsuit filed by Flannigan, are due to defective drywall from China.

"Headaches, allergies, asthma," Flannigan explained. "I've had pneumonia several times since we moved into the house."

The Flannigans hired a lawyer after seeing reports linking gas emissions from Chinese drywall to health and structural problems like blackened metal door stops and more.

"Their air conditioning units, the coils turned black and they eventually had to replace it after just a few years," attorney Dan Bryson said.

Flannigan said anything inside the house made of metal turned black. "It's jewelry, it's the door stops in the house, [and] it's the pipes underneath our sinks. Guitar strings, anything that's metal," she explained.

"It could very well be due to Chinese drywall, Bryson said."We're finding that these problems are cropping up in states where there have been building booms."

Cases have been documented in Florida and North Carolina. The Flannigans said it started with a bad odor that was present for years.

"And if we go away, and we come back into the house after being gone for a weekend, you can smell it," Flannigan said. "I can smell it on my clothes in my suitcase when we go away. It's just always here."

A piece of drywall cut out of the garage confirmed the family's suspicions.

"You could smell the sulfur, significantly, at that point," she said. "We knew, though we took the first piece out and it didn't say 'Made in China,' the next piece we took out said 'Made in China.'"

The rotten egg smell still lingers in the air at the Flannigan home today. And while neighbors have not reported similar problems, there are a growing number of complaints around the country.

"There are 31 people that are on the 'Defective Chinese Drywall' Facebook page," Flannigan said. "So far, we're the only ones from North Carolina."

Now, the Flannigans fear they are stuck with a house they can't sell.

There are lots of websites - many set up by law firms - that have more information about the drywall issue and what to look for to see if you have it. Check out http://www.chinesedrywall.com/ which has pictures and other data. While most of the problems have been reported in Florida, officials say it was used in homes built in North Carolina too.


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