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Federal agency inspects Bragg homes for Chinese drywall

Posted September 13, 2010
Updated September 16, 2010

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— The Consumer Products Safety Commission is conducting its own tests on Fort Bragg homes where infants have died to determine if faulty drywall could be responsible.

Ten children, ages 2 weeks to 8 months, have died in military housing on post since the beginning of 2007. Two of the deaths occurred in the same home in a three-month period last year.

One of the babies died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, but medical experts haven't been able to determine the cause of death of seven others, officials said. The remaining two deaths remain under investigation.

The Army Criminal Investigation Command and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology are assisting Fort Bragg officials to determine if faulty construction or environmental factors played a role in any of the deaths.

The initial investigation revealed no common factors in the deaths, Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Criminal Investigative Command, said during a news conference two weeks ago.

The CPSC is the federal agency leading the investigation into complaints about Chinese drywall across the country.

Hurricane Katrina and a nationwide building boom led to a shortage of domestic drywall several years ago, prompting some builders to begin importing drywall from China. Many people later reported getting sick in homes with the imported drywall.

"We're very concerned about what's going on down there," CPSC spokesman Alex Filip said Monday about the infant deaths at Fort Bragg. "(Agency investigators) have been down in the area talking to the base quite a bit."

Bragg homes under construction Construction of Bragg homes focus of two probes

Investigators took samples last week from the home where the two infants died, Filip said. They also tested a home in the Linden Oaks subdivision where a baby died in March.

Filip said he expects results from the tests back this fall.

Both homes were built by Picerne Military Housing after 2005.

Picerne manager John Shea said during the Aug. 31 news conference that initial tests done by the Army were positive for Chinese drywall, but two rounds of follow-up tests were negative. He said an old grading scale was the reason for the initial false positive result.

Shea said he was "very confident" that Chinese drywall isn't in any Fort Bragg housing.

Army officials said they won't release the results of their testing until the military investigation into the deaths is complete.

Grey said the deaths occurred across the post, in both new and old construction, but he declined to identify the specific homes involved.

The home where the two infants died is vacant and will remain so until the military investigation is completed, officials said.


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  • Sherlock Sep 15, 2010

    Why are we not buying American made products? The government should be spendign the money here to help our business owners.

  • SaveEnergyMan Sep 14, 2010

    oldrebel, I would agree with your assessment, but I would also caution that with the poor air quality in the major cities there and the rampant "sweep things under the rug" attitude, that it may be a problem there too.

    ghimmy, I think you're on the right track. China has nukes and a huge, almost modern army. That should scare us because the only thing that keeps them from moving into resource rich areas (which China is by and large not) is our navy and nukes. In some ways it resembles Japan of the 1930's.

  • ghimmy51 Sep 13, 2010

    oldrebel, the Chinese government is a weird thing. While they are in ultimate control of what news gets out they don't manage effectively, so local governments and industry run wild with corruption. Nothing ever changes there. International companies have found the best article they'll see when shopping for a producer for them will be the sample and first production. Then it's normal for the factory to make changes to increase profit with no concern for safety. They need a full time US inspector. The majority of companies there are wholly or partly government owned and they are modernizing and expanding their military beyond all possible defensive reasons. We are bound by treaties in the area and war with China is inevitable as they continue to expand their reach. Think of that when you see "Made in China".

  • lolly Sep 13, 2010

    Excellent question, OR.

  • oldrebel Sep 13, 2010

    I often wonder, when I see stories with the theme of "bad" Chinese drywall, why are there no stories of Chinese people being sickened and dying from such drywall over there where it is manufactured. Could it be the story isn't "newsworthy" if it is Chinese dying and sickened...Is the story not being allowed to be reported by the Chinese government...Or could it be as simple (and non-sinister) as the drywall in question was for export only?