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By now, most of us have heard something about Chinese drywall. It’s one of those buzz topics repeatedly swirling in the news. If you live in an area with homes containing the defective product — or if you are unfortunate enough to be living in one of these homes — then you are already pretty knowledgeable about the issue.

As evident by the name, Chinese drywall refers to that manufactured in China and then shipped here. This drywall was first brought to the United States around 2004 and continued to be used in construction until 2009. These dates vary, and some have reported that the drywall was imported as early as 2001. The drywall was introduced as a less expensive and more easily available alternative to the gypsum board or sheetrock already being used. Some estimates indicate that as many as 100,000 homes in 37 states may be affected. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 7 million sheets of Chinese drywall were imported, presumably enough to have been incorporated in the construction of tens of thousands of homes.

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