Friday, January 30, 2009

A drywall scandal that stinks

The right-wing noise machine isn't shy about baselessly attacking my patriotism or that of other dissidents (because we didn't support Bush's illegal Iraq War). Yet our right-wing overlords don't even care enough about ol' red, white, and blue to encourage firms to buy American.

They'd rather allow cheap, docile labor to be exploited abroad than protect you, the American worker.

Lately, folks who have moved into new homes in Florida and Virginia have been driven out of their new digs by the insufferable sulfur stench of the homes' drywall. It turns out the homebuilders didn't use American-made drywall - but Chinese-made drywall.

This is a serious concern, because China has no equivalent of the Environmental Protection Agency or other agencies that might have oversight over what goes into products. (America barely had an EPA under Bush, but that's in the past now.) Thus, China exercises little control over the environmental safety of items like drywall.

So this isn't just a problem of odors, personal inconvenience, or the blight caused by neighborhoods having to be abandoned because of the stink. This is also a potential health hazard.

The Chinese-made drywall contains heavy does of sulfur, which stinks of rotten egg farts. Sulfur gas corrodes metal, and residents have noticed that jewelry, air conditioner coils, and other metal objects have become tarnished. As for the health effects, residents have experienced respiratory problems that suddenly clear up when they leave their houses.

Meanwhile, brand-new houses sit ruined and empty because of the sulfur-laced drywall - never to be inhabited again.

Are the free trade ideologues happy now?


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