Analytical Laboratory Releases Testing Programs to Identify Chinese Drywall Contamination
Centek Laboratories, LLC has developed testing options for homeowners and businesses that suspect contaminated imported Chinese drywall.
The issue with imported Chinese drywall began surfacing in the past year. Louisiana and Florida were the first states that reported suspected drywall, imported from China, causing unpleasant odors and damage to air conditioning coils, copper piping, building materials, and health. Centek has been in conversations with the Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and North Carolina State Health Departments to discuss the laboratory’s ability to provide user friendly sampling equipment to be analyzed for compounds that are culprits for material deterioration, odors, and illness. The United States Product Safety Commission and US EPA are also conducting studies.
The contaminated Chinese Drywall is of high concern to many local and national authorities. The urgency to treat this issue can be summed up by the Palm Beach County Health Department Director, Dr. Jean Malecki. “I am very concerned for the people in our area who have this drywall in their homes. I have talked with and listened to a number of these residents and we need to move quickly toward a resolve. People’s health is at stake here,” said Dr. Malecki.
Sulfur is one of the main components in drywall. Prolonged exposure to the compounds, especially high levels of carbon disulfide, can cause breathing problems, chest pains and even death; and can affect the nervous system, according to the CDC. Dr. Patricia Williams, a University of New Orleans toxicologist hired by a Louisiana law firm that represents plaintiffs in some of the cases, said she has identified highly toxic compounds in the drywall, including hydrogen sulfide, sulfuric acid, sulfur dioxide and carbon disulfide.
Centek’s lab director, Russ Pellegrino, has over 30 years experience in environmental laboratory settings and has analyzed for cases dealing with product off gassing. “Sampling techniques and compound retrieval has been more than difficult in past years but our laboratory has developed sampling programs to tackle issues pertaining to drywall” Pellegrino states. “Because hydrogen disulfide is heavier than air, it can accumulate in low-lying areas and in enclosed spaces. A common example is behind your drywall where all your pipes and electrical wiring is kept. Sampling the air in a room maybe at one concentration and may not affect any copper products. If you sample behind the wall where there is enclosed space the concentration can be substantially higher, causing damage to all of your copper.”
Pellegrino continues “We, at the lab have been doing new construction sampling for years and have come up with a technique of retrieving compounds behind the walls without removing a single piece of drywall. Using our equipment, expertise and specialty treated canisters we have been able to retrieve hydrogen disulfide and other sulfur derived compounds.”
Centek uses Whole Air Sampling By Method TO-15 to monitor areas where the drywall is suspected of exposing contamination to indoor air. Centek also has the capability of headspace analysis. A sample of the drywall is placed in a air tight headspace chamber. The chamber is then purged, extracting a sample of what is off gassing from the product. This will eliminate all other sources of contamination.
Centek provides equipment and instruction for it’s sampling programs. The equipment is supplied rent-free and is extremely user-friendly. Their Category B data package will hold up in court. Sampling programs provided by Centek creates a cost-effective solution for a homeowner or business to determine drywall contamination.
Centek Laboratories, LLC is a woman owned analytical air laboratory. For more information please contact Centek Laboratories, LLC at (315) 431-9730 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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