NEEDHAM, Mass. - Environmental Health & Engineering Inc. (EH&E), a leading Massachusetts-based engineering consulting firm, announced that it has completed a study for the United States government on the impacts of imported drywall from China, a material reported to be linked to poor indoor air leading to health concerns and premature failure of appliances including HVAC systems, refrigerators, and electrical appliances. The study found a strong association between the presence of suspect drywall, hydrogen sulfide in the air, and corrosion of metals in homes. EH&E noted the drywall issue has affected thousands of homes in the U.S. for more than two years.

The five-month EH&E study included 51 homes in five southern states: 41 homes where property owners had reported corrosion of wiring or piping, and 10 similar homes about which no complaints had been filed. The following findings were presented by John F. McCarthy, Sc.D., C.I.H., president of EH&E, in a congressional briefing:

• In homes with suspect drywall, the following conditions were determined:

- High rates of sulfur-based corrosion on copper and silver test coupons.

- Visible corrosion of copper wires in electrical outlets.

- Low level concentrations of hydrogen sulfide gas.

- Low ventilation rates.

- Associations of corrosion with hydrogen sulfide concentrations in air, temperature and humidity.

• A reliable real-time method of “fingerprinting” suspect drywall using state-of-the-art inspection equipment was developed and validated.

The EH&E presentation to Congress and a report prepared for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are available at

Publication date:12/07/2009