CPSC: No link between drywall and infant deaths

Officials announce the results of the federal investigation Thursday (Shae Crisson)
February 10, 2011 2:50:30 PM PST
The results of the federal investigation into unexplained infant deaths at Fort Bragg were released Thursday.

Click here to read the entire report (.pdf)

The government launched an investigation last year to try to determine why 11 babies have died at Fort Bragg since 2007.

Investigators wanted to know if there was an environmental cause, and the focus has been on drywall in the homes.

But Investigators with the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday that they could not find any connection between drywall and infant deaths.

The CPSC said it did a comprehensive environmental scan on two homes. While it did find some light corrosion on some fixtures in the homes, it said it was not the kind usually associated with problem drywall.

In some parts of the country, there have been reports of health problems associated with some drywall imported from China starting in 2001. Lab testing showed emissions of sulfurous gases from the product. But CPSC investigators said Thursday there is no indication any of the drywall used at Fort Bragg came from China.

National Gypsum, which produced the drywall used in the Fort Bragg homes said Thursday's report backs the quality of its product.

"This report confirms what we’ve known all along: the drywall in these homes is 100 percent safe and free of any defects," said Craig Weisbruch, Sr. Vice President, Sales & Marketing for National Gypsum Company.

Thursday, the CPSC said it tested everything in the two homes it looked at from water quality, air quality and even the possibility of mold.

It said the firm who did the testing - Environmental Health and Engineering - recommends additional testing for pesticides. It found higher than average levels of the chemicals Permethrin and Cypermethrin.

Multiple agencies have been conducting probes of the Fort Bragg deaths. The pattern was first noticed by officials after two infants from different families died within three months of each other at the same address in 2009.

Last October, the Army said other testing it commissioned had not found anything that might have contributed to the deaths of the children.

Army officials have said the rate of unexplained infant deaths is not necessarily anomalous for a community the size of Bragg, but that the two 2009 deaths so close together merited an investigation.

Fort Bragg is home to the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Forces. About 45,000 people live on the base, including about 6,200 families.

Officials do not suspect foul play in any of the deaths.

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