Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) told attendees of a conference about tainted Chinese drywall that he is confident that President Obama or his staff will discuss the drywall problem with Chinese President Hu Jintao or other Chinese officials during a trip to China next week. The Florida senator also noted that the Chinese government was starting to take the subject more seriously after “blowing off” the senator during his trip to China earlier this year. Just last month, the head of the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission met with Chinese officials about the tainted drywall, who showed a willingness to work with the U.S. on a solution. Chinese-manufactured drywall has been linked to corrosion in homes and is considered a possible health hazard.

Scientists during the two-day conference also discussed ongoing studies about the potential health effects of the contaminated drywall. While more studies are still needed, preliminary studies suggest that a combination of low levels of sulfur and other chemicals might trigger “neurogenic inflammation” of the fifth cranial nerve that branches behind the face, nose and throat. These chemicals’ irritation of the nerve might cause the symptoms complained of residents of homes with the drywall. However, studying the effects of the contaminated drywall is very challenging, with Florida’s state toxicologist commenting that there was no consensus among scientists for how to approach the subject.

For the full story, go to Sarasota’s Herald Tribune.