Root Cause Spectroscopic Failure Investigation of Corrosive Gases Emitted By Materials Used of Newly Built Custom Homes

Wednesday, September 15, 2021: 2:20 PM
241 (America's Center)
Ms. Jeanette Vass , Auto & Materials, Landenberg, PA
My talk will highlight the importance of micro and conventional scale spectroscopy with chemical testing for solving a serious problem reported from some newly custom-built homes.

Our group’s objective was to identify the source of noxious odors suggesting the presence of sulfur gases in custom-built homes geographically concentrated in the southeastern United States, primarily in Florida.

Such consistent noxious fumes emitted from unknown sources made the living environment uncomfortable for the occupants.

Additionally, there was corrosion on metal surfaces, e.g. blackening, pitting and tarnishing. The premature indoor corrosion of copper and other metal decorative items presented more than just an aesthetic concern.

The corrosion damage to HVAC coils, appliances and wiring from impurities in the air created a potentially dangerous condition, requiring immediate attention due to safety and health concerns.

We started by collecting background data, along with corrosion deposits and air sampling for visual inspection, photographing, evaluation and review.

Using optical and EDS equipped electron microscopes along with FT-IR, XPS spectrometers and chemical analysis, our group identified and proved the root cause.

It was determined that these harmful, corrosive pollutants emitted from the interior drywall which was manufactured and imported from China.

The very high home rebuilding demand due to recent hurricanes in the region necessitated the use of all available supplies for rebuilding. Unfortunately, some drywall imports were rushed into the US without proper quality inspection and verification of their chemical composition.

These drywall panels were the root cause of chemical contamination and elevated Strontium and Sulfur levels.

My presentation will detail the analytical approach proving Chinese drywall as the source of the unknown air impurities impacting these corrosion and health problems while suggesting corrective actions and aiding the legal teams litigating on behalf of homeowners seeking compensation for their damages.