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Air Sampling Not the Best Method for Testing Defective Chinese Drywall


EMSL Analytical offers testing solutions for imported drywall.

With numerous media reports of imported Chinese drywall causing unpleasant odors and damage to building materials EMSL Analytical has been busy testing samples from across the country.

The problem appears to be related to the presence of iron disulfide (FeS2 pyrite). Hydrogen sulfide (H2S), carbonyl sulfide, sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon disulfide (CS2) are also suspected as culprits. EMSL Analytical has recently developed a procedure that can accurately compare certain sulfur gasses contained in suspect drywall versus control samples.

Air sampling methods (such as EPA TO-15 and ASTM D5504) do not consistently identify spaces with other odorous drywall symptoms, such as odors, irritation, and copper corrosion. There are so many factors, including temperature, moisture, HVAC operation, etc., that affect what is present in the air that other sampling methods should be utilized. Bulk testing has proven to be the most reliable testing methods. EMSL can show that the material differs in composition from normal, non-problem drywall by XRF/XRD microscopy. This test alone may not tell the whole story.

Another important test is a copper corrosion test that EMSL has developed. For those important projects, the consultant should consider performing all of the tests listed above. The Florida Department of Health has also recently published a website ( that many property owners may find helpful.

EMSL Analytical is a national leader in materials testing and indoor air quality testing services. For more information about drywall testing or other testing needs please contact EMSL Analytical at (800)220-3675 or

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a leading, national provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.

To learn more about EMSL Analytical please visit: or, or contact EMSL at (800)220-3675 or


 Chinese Drywall
 Environmental Laboratory

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