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Low Cost ‘Chinese Drywall’ Testing Available for Elemental Sulfur


Simi Valley, Calif. -- A low cost testing option is now available from Columbia Analytical for detecting elemental sulfur (S8) in bulk drywall. The testing focuses on orthorhombic cyclooctasulfur (elemental sulfur: S8), a unique marker compound found only in drywall which causes corrosion. The test costs approximately $100 per drywall sample, depending on the project.

Columbia Analytical’s proven method for elemental sulfur uses gas chromatography with electron capture detection (GC/ECD) and allows for rapid turnaround of sample results. The GC/ECD analytical technique offers comparable sensitivity to the GC/MS method also offered by Columbia Analytical, but at a substantially lower cost.

The low cost GC/ECD analysis allows clients to screen a large volume of drywall samples quickly for S8. Because drywall used in home construction can be from mixed sources, submission of multiple samples from one suspect home may be done to reduce the risk of false negative results. In addition, confirmatory analysis of drywall for S8 by GC/MS is still available and may be performed on the same sample as the GC/ECD analysis.

Roughly 5g (approximately 2”x2”) of bulk drywall material is all that is required for this new GC/ECD analysis. Results are reported in units of mg/kg. A result higher than 5 mg/kg is typically indicative of corrosive drywall, making it easy to identify “bad drywall.”

Columbia Analytical’s Research & Development team began laboratory analysis on suspect drywall in spring 2008. They have since analyzed several hundred drywall samples from homeowners, home builders and developers, environmental consultants/industrial hygienists, government agencies and contractors, as well as, domestic and foreign drywall producers as part of their method development.

Columbia Analytical Services, Inc. is an employee-owned, full-service environmental analytical laboratory testing network established in 1986 and headquartered in Kelso, Washington. Their expertise encompasses air, water, dioxin, biological, pharmaceutical, solid and hazardous waste analyses.

For more information on the laboratory analysis of problem drywall, call or visit Columbia Analytical’s website at


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