a strong personal opinion based on the experience of being a technical controller for many years

U.S. Consumer Organization Identifies Hazardous Plasterboards

In the United States of America, there has been a long-running saga of Hazardous Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) Emitting Plasterboard/Drywall being installed in new housing.  My U.S. cousin and his beautiful wife were crying their eyes out, here in Ireland last year, having discovered that their new home in Florida had been constructed using this plasterboard … or ‘drywall’, as it is known in the local language over there, i.e. American.

This sorry story graphically illustrates a number of important points …

  1. The Construction Products & Materials Industry is completely and utterly global in nature.  Europe is not immune from this phenomenon !
  2. Within the European Single Market, proper and unqualified emphasis must be placed on the correct CE Marking of Construction Products.  Unfortunately, too many European Manufacturers have not the remotest notion about what CE Marking means or involves.  And … CE Marking Technical Control Systems & Procedures in European Countries are totally inadequate.
  3. Just as many people think nothing about stealing the intellectual property of others … so many people think nothing about Fraudulently Applying the CE Mark to unapproved construction products.
  4. In order to improve the situation concerning Consumer Ignorance about CE Marking … even when a manufacturer has his/her/their CE Marking in order … it is still necessary to clearly and simply demonstrate the Route of Conformity which has been taken in order to obtain the CE Mark.  This is not a requirement of European Union Law … but merely a strong personal opinion based on the experience of being a technical controller for many years.
  5. The problem of hazardous plasterboard in buildings could also happen in Ireland … or in any other European country.  It might already have happened.  Beware !
  6. It is not acceptable that a well-established European Brand Name has engaged in this sort of ‘sharp’ practice outside Europe !!   Across a large trans-national organization … it is essential that Product Quality Control is consistently at a uniformly high level.


In a CPSC (USA) Press Release #10-243, dated 25th May 2010 …

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is releasing today the names of the plasterboard manufacturers whose plasterboard emitted high levels of hydrogen sulphide in testing conducted for the agency by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), in California.  There is a strong association between hydrogen sulphide and metal corrosion.

Of the samples tested, the top ten reactive sulphur-emitting plasterboard samples were all produced in China.  Some of the Chinese plasterboard had emission rates of hydrogen sulphide 100 times greater than non-Chinese plasterboard samples.


U.S. CPSC Chart of Hydrogen Sulphide Emitting Plasterboards (PDF File, 602kb)

Click the Link above to read and/or download the CPSC Chart


“Homeowners who have problem plasterboard in their homes are suffering greatly”, said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.  “I appeal to these Chinese plasterboard companies to carefully examine their responsibilities to U.S. families who have been harmed, and do what is fair and just”.

At the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue meetings in Beijing on 24th & 25th May 2010, U.S. officials pressed the Chinese government to facilitate a meeting between CPSC and the Chinese plasterboard companies whose products were used in U.S. homes, and which exhibit the emissions identified during the testing procedures.  The Strategic and Economic Dialogue represents the highest-level bilateral forum to discuss a broad range of issues between the two nations.

The following list identifies the top 10 plasterboard samples tested which had the highest emissions of hydrogen sulphide, along with the identity of the manufacturer of the plasterboard and the year of manufacture, from highest to lowest.

  • Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co. Ltd.: (year of manufacture 2005) China ;
  • Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.: (2006) China ;
  • Shandong Taihe Dongxin Co.: (2005) China ;
  • Knauf Plasterboard (Tianjin) Co. Ltd.: (2006) China ;
  • Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.: (2006) China ;
  • Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.: (2006) China ;
  • Shandong Chenxiang GBM Co. Ltd. (C&K Gypsum Board): (2006) China ;
  • Beijing New Building Materials (BNBM): (2009) China ;
  • Taian Taishan Plasterboard Co. Ltd.: (2009) China ;
  • Shandong Taihe Dongxin Co.: (2009) China.

Other Chinese plasterboard samples had low or no detectable emissions of hydrogen sulphide, as did the plasterboard samples tested which were manufactured domestically.

They include …

  • Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin: (2009) China ;
  • Tiger ***ShiGao JianCai***liangpianzhuang: (2006) China ;
  • USG Corporation: (2009) U.S. ;
  • Guangdong Knauf New Building Material Products Co. Ltd.: (2009) China ;
  • 9 mm (3/8″) plasterboard manufacturer uncertain (date uncertain): China ;
  • Knauf Plasterboard (Wuhu) Co. Ltd.: (2009) China ;
  • CertainTeed Corp.: (2009) U.S. ;
  • Georgia Pacific Corp.: (2009) U.S. ;
  • Dragon Brand, Beijing New Building Materials Co. Ltd.: (2006) China ;
  • CertainTeed Corp.: (2009) U.S. ;
  • Pingyi Baier Building Materials Co. Ltd.: (2009) China ;
  • Sample purchased in China, manufacturer unknown: (2009) China ;
  • Panel Rey S.A.: (2009) Mexico ;
  • Lafarge North America: (2009) U.S. ;
  • National Gypsum Company: (2009) U.S. ;
  • National Gypsum Company: (2009) U.S. ;
  • Georgia Pacific Corp.: (2009) U.S. ;
  • Pabco Gypsum: (2009) U.S. ;
  • Temple-Inland Inc.: (2009) U.S. ;   and
  • USG Corporation: (2009) U.S.


Last month, CPSC released the results of plasterboard emissions tests by LBNL.  The studies showed a connection between certain Chinese plasterboard and corrosion in homes.  In addition, the patterns of reactive sulphur compounds emitted from plasterboard samples show a clear distinction between certain Chinese plasterboard samples manufactured in 2005/2006 and other Chinese and non-Chinese plasterboard samples.

To date, CPSC has spent over $5 million to investigate the chemical nature and the chain of commerce of problem plasterboard.  Earlier this year, CPSC and the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) issued an Identification Protocol to help consumers identify problem plasterboard in their homes.  Last month, CPSC and HUD issued Remediation Guidance to assist impacted homeowners.

To see this release on CPSC’s WebSite, including a link to a Chart listing plasterboard chamber test results … please go to … www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10243.html