Here's a news release from Nelson's office:
When U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson was at the Nuclear Security Summit here yesterday afternoon, he took the opportunity during one break to talk with Chinese President Hu Jintao about a less significant issue – but one important to and affecting many Floridians: drywall imported from China.
Nelson brought up the findings of the federal consumer product safety panel that a Chinese manufacturer sent tainted drywall to the U.S. that is now making homes uninhabitable, leaving thousands of homeowners not only in Florida but also around the country looking for answers and help.
President Hu through a translator pledged to investigate – to “look into it” immediately, Nelson said. “If we can get the top government official of China working on this,” Nelson said, “then that’s where we’re going to get the money to make these homeowners whole.”
Just last week, a judge in New Orleans awarded seven Virginia families $2.6 million in damages to pay for the removal of Chinese drywall. The decision could potentially affect thousands of other U.S. homeowners who have tainted drywall in their homes.
There are over 3,000 reported cases of toxic drywall in the U.S., with nearly 1,800 of these cases coming from the state of Florida. Nelson got involved because a lot of Chinese drywall was brought into Florida to repair homes after hurricanes hit the state hard in 2004 and 2005. Likewise, Louisiana and other Gulf coast states are seeing reports of the drywall because it was used in rebuilding after Katrina. Many of those states, including Florida, also underwent a huge housing boom in the past decade.
Nelson was the first to call for an investigation of the toxic drywall by the U.S. government, and he previously traveled to China to press officials there to help U.S. consumers. Yesterday marked the first time the matter was broached directly with President Hu.