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Hundreds of residents packed Mandeville City Council chambers Wednesday night for a town hall meeting to learn how to remedy the problem of Chinese drywall contaminating their homes.

The meeting was hosted by Louisiana state senator Julie Quinn, who had previously introduced legislation to help Louisiana homeowners recover their losses. The bill, which would have allowed homeowners to both collect the money needed to replace the toxic drywall and to recover their attorneys fees for related litigation, died on the senate floor.

In response to questions posed by Senator Quinn, almost all of the attendees indicated that they have received denial letters from their insurance companies to remediate the toxic drywall; none had received any help from their insurance providers.

In addition to Senator Quinn’s talk, a microbiologist discussed the potential health hazards of Chinese drywall with the audience, explaining that the gases emitted from the contaminated drywall can be neurotoxic and cause dizziness, headaches, and further harm. Additionally, a Florida attorney urged the crowd to file complaints with the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, to push action at the national level. He noted that while there are likely 40,000 affected homes in the U.S., only about 1,100 had filed claims.

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