The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission have released guidelines to identify and test for toxic drywall in affected homes.

The government-approved methods must be followed for homeowners seeking federal assistance for toxic drywall, which is linked to corrosion of household components and health complaints.  A federally-approved protocol for removing the toxic drywall has not yet been issued, but is expected in the spring. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is allowing local governments to use federal Community Development Block Grant monies to assist homeowners with defective drywall problems.

Homeowners with drywall installed between 2001 and 2008 should look for signs of corrosion, which may include blackened copper wiring, blackened air-conditioner evaporator coils or proof that bad air-conditioning coils were previously removed.

If evidence of such corrosion is found, homeowners should then look for corroborating evidence such as markings that the drywall was made in China, the source of most of the problem drywall. A photo catalogue of such markings can be found on the MDL website.

Homeowners also can hire a firm to test for problem chemicals in the home. Information about testing can be found at CPCS and HUD News and CPSC and HUD Interim Guidance.

Homeowners need only two pieces of corroborating evidence for homes built between 2005 and 2008. For drywall installed between 2001 and 2004, homeowners must produce four pieces of corroborating evidence.

The chemical testing of the drywall should be done by a qualified home inspection firm, environmental consultant or home forensic inspection firm. Homeowners are urged to make sure such firms are qualified to do the testing.

To date, approximately 2,800 homeowners in 38 states have reported toxic drywall problems to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

For the full story, go to NOLA.com.