More Health Risks from China

Monday, April 13, 2009
Toxic Sofa

Household problems ranging from corroded plumbing to serious skin rashes all are coming from the same source—China—according to experts in the United States and in other countries. For many Americans living in as many as 100,000 new homes built during the recent housing boom, the drywall contains chemicals that, when exposed to heat and humidity, give off fumes that not only smell bad (like rotting eggs) but also is capable of corroding copper pipes, tarnishing jewelry and making people sick. This particular drywall was imported from China by construction companies because it was abundant and cheap. It is believed that as much as 500 million pounds of the toxic compound wound up in the United States, including in newly built homes in the Southeast after Hurricane Katrina.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, researchers in Europe have discovered that hundreds of thousands of leather sofas made in China contain a toxic fungicide that can cause chronic dermatitis, skin burns, eye irritation and breathing difficulties. The culprit is dimethyl fumarate, which can turn into a toxic vapor when people’s body heat from sitting on the sofas causes a chemical reaction.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Chinese Drywall Poses Potential Risks (by Brian Skoloff and Cain Burdeau, Associated Press)
New Sofas to Blame for Rash of Allergies (by Kelly Burke, Sydney Morning Herald)


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