H.R. 4212 Senate Amendments: Contaminated Drywall Safety Act of 2012

H.R. 4212

Contaminated Drywall Safety Act of 2012

Sponsor
Sen. Bernard Sanders

Date
December 30, 2012 (112th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

On Sunday, December 30, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider the Senate Amendments H.R. 4212, the Contaminated Drywall Safety Act of 2012, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority vote for approval.  The bill was introduced on March 19, 2012, by Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. 

Bill Summary

H.R. 4212 would express the sense of Congress that the Secretary of State should insist on the following:

  1. China, which has ownership interests in the companies that manufactured and exported contaminated drywall to the United States, have the companies meet with U.S. government representatives about remedying affected homeowners; and
  2. Such companies comply with any related U.S. court decisions.

This bill would designate the labeling program developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International for drywall and chemical compounds present in drywall as the new national standard for such products manufactured for import to the United States. These standards would take effect 180 days after enactment.

The would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue limits regarding the sulfur content of drywall manufactured or imported for use in the United States. The commission would not be required to take this action, however, if such standards are developed by AMST International, are voluntarily adopted by drywall manufacturers, and are in effect within two years of enactment.

The labeling and sulfur content standards required under the legislation bill would be designated as enforceable regulations as if they had been promulgated using the federal rulemaking process. The commission would be authorized to update and modify the standards if it determines that such action is needed to protect public health.

Finally, the bill would require the Consumer Product Safety Commission to revise its remediation standards for contaminated dry wall to recommend that such drywall should not be re-used or used as a component to produce new drywall.

Background

According to the sponsor’s office, contaminated Chinese-manufactured drywall was imported and used in home construction from approximately 2001-2009.  Scientific studies have shown this drywall to cause a corrosive environment for fire alarm systems, electrical distribution systems, gas piping, and refrigeration coils.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received reports of contaminated Chinese drywall in more than 3,991 homes in 43 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico.  The Chinese manufacturers, some of which are state owned, have refused to submit to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.  Furthermore, reports from homeowners indicate that some contaminated drywall may be entering the recycling stream for use in new home construction or renovation.

Cost

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not produced an estimate for H.R. 4212.