An excellent big picture story in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune today recounting the arrival of contaminated Chinese drywall as a major economic, political and regulatory issue, “The week that saw drywall snowball.” Reporter Aaron Kessler writes:
By the end of the week, a palpable shift had taken place among lawmakers as House and Senate members from a range of perspectives began gravitating toward the issue, Congressional aides and other observers said.
Chinese toys, foods and other products already have proven toxic in recent years, and drywall appears to be tapping into similar outrage among many in Congress after bubbling up among a growing body of constituents.
New proposed laws were discussed to make it easier to sue foreign manufacturers of defective products, and new standards for imported materials like drywall are also in the works. And of course, solving the mystery of the drywall itself and determining whether a nationwide recall should be instituted is a cause lawmakers across the country are beginning to embrace.
But if history and the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act are our guides, then it’s not just culpable Chinese manufacturers of contaminated drywall who will be affected — if indeed there is culpability. Drawn into the snare of legislation, regulation, litigation and overreaction will also be manufacturers of other products, contractors, retailers, advertisers, and some poor guy in Pensacola. With media cheering, we hope there’s also a fair share of skepticism and investigation into the full range of pecuniary motives.
- Tallahassee Democrat, “Senate Appropriations Committee to expedite testing of Chinese drywall”
- Detroit Free-Press, “Concern, scrutiny growing on Capitol Hill over Chinese drywall”
- Miami-Herald, “ EPA Chinese drywall has high levels of chemicals”
- Consumer Affairs, “Another Chinese Drywall Suit Filed“
- Jacksonville Business Journal, “Senators Express Outrage over Chinese Drywall.”
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