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Columbia Analytical Develops Protocol for Testing Corrosion and Odor in Chinese Drywall


SIMI VALLEY, California — Columbia Analytical Services, Inc. announces it has established a reliable test protocol for identifying odor and corrosion problems in drywall. The tests identify problems with drywall, generally reported as “Chinese drywall,” that initially affected many homes in the southeastern United States.

“Our team has developed three technically superior and legally-defensible analytical tests related to the drywall problem,” said Michael Tuday, Director of Research and Development at Columbia Analytical’s Simi Valley, California laboratory. “We have been studying the issue and testing both foreign and domestic drywall samples since February, 2008, and are excited to have found a testing solution to isolate this problem.”

The Simi Valley laboratory confirmed that hydrogen sulfide is one of the major contributing agents causing the corrosion. With its characteristic rotten egg smell, hydrogen sulfide is a likely contributor to reported odors in affected homes. Other researchers have also identified iron disulfide (pyrite) and strontium sulfide as possible corrosion culprits, as well.

Researchers at Columbia Analytical also determined the drywall in question contains a naturally occurring allotrope of elemental sulfur and have developed a novel means of quantifying orthorhombic cyclooctasulfur (S8) in drywall via analysis by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). In tests to-date, this sulfur allotrope is a unique and reliable marker in drywall products causing corrosion problems and has only been found in drywall imported from China.

Columbia Analytical has developed an innovative chamber test procedure for the measurement of hydrogen sulfide at ultra-low levels in suspect drywall. To confirm corrosivity, a jar test is used to document copper corrosion in the presence of test drywall samples.

These laboratory tests may be used to confirm visual home inspections and to demonstrate that corrosion effects are due to drywall and not other items in the home, such as carpets, cleaners, paints, or personal care products.

Columbia Analytical is an employee-owned, full-service environmental analytical network with laboratories and service centers nationwide. The company’s expertise encompasses air, water, dioxin, biological, pharmaceutical, and solid and hazardous waste analyses.

For more information about drywall testing, contact Alyson Fortune at 978.501.2735 or John Yokoyama at 805.526.7161 or visit Columbia Analytical’s website at


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