Chinese drywall, also called odorous gypsum wallboard, is an emerging issue in the community.
The material, which has been identified in new and remodeled homes in Florida, and also other states, has been determined to emit chemicals that cause characteristic sulfide odors. There are also reports of health effects associated with the material.
There are what we inspectors call markers to look for in the home to possibly identify this concern.
One of the markers would be to look at any interior copper wire on a receptacle or on copper water lines under a sink or on the backside bottom of the kitchen refrigerator compressor unit which will have copper tubes coming off of it.
Another marker is to use your nose. Chinese drywall puts out an off gas of sulfur which smells just like rotten eggs but a lot stronger. (Do not mistake a water heater unit that has been sitting for a long time in the home. The water will have a sulfur smell the first time you turn on the kitchen sink on the hot side).
Another marker is to look at the A/C air handler unit (if it is on the interior of the home). There is copper on the unit that will turn black and also it can destroy or eat down the evaporator coils like an acid.
Another marker is to look for a certain name on the back of the drywall if possible. Names like made in China, Made in Beijing or a company name Knauf. From what has been said, only ½ “ drywall is of concern. It is possible that 5/8 drywall could have it also.
It has been reported that drywall imported between 2004-2006 from certain areas in China, can release sulfur-like odorous components. There have been reports that large quantities of drywall produced in China were kept on sea barges for months awaiting permission for importation to the USA. This drywall has a higher than typical density and a higher propensity to off-gas sulfur compounds.