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Many people who purchased during the housing boom have found that their house is now underwater.  In other words the loan amount is more than what the house is now worth.  Many are sitting tight hoping that prices will eventually come up again.  However it turns out that purchasing during the housing boom may have had an even steeper price, one that could threaten their health.

During the housing boom, there was a shortage of building materials.  US made drywall was in short supply, and to keep up with demand, Chinese made drywall was imported.

The first signs of trouble came when homeowners had to replace their air conditioning coils many more times than seemed normal for a new house.  Then some started noticing their silver turning black.  Wiring and appliance problems were common.  Then finally, some started getting sick with headaches, rashes, sinus problems.

The culprit was the Chinese made drywall, specifically from Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin.  The theory is that fly ash from steel mills was mixed in the plasterboard so that there are higher concentrates of sulfides in the gypsum than normal.  Moisture activates these toxic compounds, releasing hydrogen sulfide, among other fumes.   The gas, which smells like rotten eggs, corrodes metal and can make people sick.

There is a a lot on the net about this problem.   If you think you are a victim, the Chinese Drywall Complaint Center is one resource that could help.

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