Baton Rouge readers may be interested to learn that a bill intended to address toxic drywall issues received overwhelming congressional approval and is headed to the president’s desk for signing. According to Louisiana senator David Vitter, who sponsored a Senate amendment that cleared the way for the bill’s passage through Congress, the legislation would prohibit the future sale of unsafe drywall and identify existing toxic drywall stock to ensure that it will not be used in any future construction projects.
The Drywall Safety Act would set standards for the composition of drywall and establish a labeling system that will enable identification of the manufacturer. The act also gives the Consumer Product Safety Commission authority to promulgate guidelines for the proper disposal of toxic drywall.
The National Association of Homebuilders initially opposed the regulation but changed its stance after the Senate amendment narrowed the scope of its composition standards to focus primarily on high sulfur content. The amendment also introduced limits on the authority of the CPSC to pass disposal regulations without input from the private sector.
Problems experienced by residents of southern Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina played a significant role in driving the new legislation. Many affected homeowners are still embroiled in construction litigation over homes repaired or rebuilt with contaminated drywall imported from China. The Louisiana senator says that the bill will prevent the reuse of contaminated drywall and benefit homeowners by making it possible to track contaminated drywall back to its manufacturer. Assuming that the president ratifies the act, homeowners and contractors alike will want to keep abreast of new regulations and the act’s impact on construction law.