Feb 10, 2011

Drywall and Deaths Not Linked, CPSC Says

Two recent federal investigations have turned up no evidence that drywall found in homes is to blame for a number of deaths in Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Virginia.

Today, federal product safety officials announced that an investigation looking into a potential link between drywall in homes at Fort Bragg and the deaths of at least three infants has turned up no such connection. The infants were said to have either lived in or visited two homes containing suspected problem drywall over a period beginning in 2007, on the base at Fort Bragg, which is a U.S. Army post in Fayetteville, North Carolina. But rounds of testing revealed that drywall in the homes was not "problem drywall" of the kind that has made headlines in recent years, and no drywall-related environmental factors could be linked to the babies' deaths, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Read the CPSC news release here and see the full report on the Fort Bragg investigation here (PDF file).

ABC11-WTVD in Raleigh-Durham reports on the case here (including an assertion that the investigation looked into as many as 11 infant deaths), and the station has also posted a PDF file collecting 263 pages of documents related to the investigation.

In January, CPSC released a report summarizing a separate investigation into the deaths of 11 adults (five in Florida, five in Louisiana, and one in Virginia) ranging in age from 59 to 86. That review -- which involved work by CPSC, CDC and a number of state health agencies -- concluded that "exposure to imported drywall was not believed to be a contributing factor" in the death of the 11 adults, all of whom "had one or more severe health conditions that were unrelated to imported drywall," including cancer and cardiac problems. You can read a PDF version of that report here.