CPSC completes study regarding homeowner problem drywall

Courtesy: Perfect Strokes
Courtesy: Perfect Strokes

The following is a news release from the Louisiana Attorney General:

Baton Rouge--Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is notifying Louisiana residents with problem drywall of the updated remediation guidance provided by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The guidance calls for the replacement of all: problem drywall; smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms; electrical distribution components, including receptacles, switches and circuit breakers, but not necessarily wiring; and fusible-type fire sprinkler heads.

"I urge you to follow the CPSC's recommendations if you suspect you have the corrosive drywall in your homes," said Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.

The updated remediation guidance is based on studies just completed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on potential long term corrosion effects of problem drywall on select gas components, fire sprinkler heads and smoke alarms.

CPSC and HUD staffs believe these final studies that resulted in an update of the remediation guidance, along with previously-issued identification guidance, will enable homeowners to comprehensively remediate those homes containing problem drywall with potentially lower costs than by following the previous remediation guidance.

Key Findings

The key finding is that none of the studies performed at NIST on smoke alarms, fire sprinkler heads, or gas service piping found corrosion associated with problem drywall that provided evidence of a substantial product safety hazard, as defined by the Consumer Product Safety Act. Corrosion of gas service piping was uniform and minimal compared to the thickness of pipes. Some smoke alarms and fire sprinkler heads showed small changes in performance due to accelerated corrosion, but these changes were generally within accepted industry standards.
As a result, CPSC and HUD no longer recommend the removal of gas service piping in homes with problem drywall. This change may reduce the cost of remediation for many homes. In addition, the agencies no longer recommend that glass bulb fire sprinkler heads be replaced in homes. However, the agencies recommend that both glass bulb sprinkler heads and gas distribution piping in affected homes be inspected and tested as part of the remediation to make sure they are working properly; any test failures should be corrected according to all applicable building codes.

The agencies do recommend the replacement of all fusible-type fire sprinkler heads, because one fusible-type sprinkler head sample that had been exposed to accelerated corrosion did not activate when tested. The agencies note that this type of sprinkler head is generally found in commercial, rather than residential, applications and that the sole failure could not be causally linked to the problem drywall.
In addition, CPSC staff continues to recommend that homeowners replace smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms as part of remediation.