Volume 39, Issue 1 (January 2011)
Applications of X-Ray Fluorescence to Confirm Sulfur Impact of Corrosive Drywall
A U.S. building boom that started in the late 1990s and peaked in early to mid 2000s resulted in imports of gypsum board, commonly known as drywall, from foreign sources particularly from China. Some of the homeowners began experiencing problems with homes built during this time. The complaints included sulfur based attack on the copper in the residences. The purpose of the paper is to present data obtained from a copper conductor exposure test designed to evaluate the use of X-ray fluorescence (XRF) in detecting and evaluating the sulfur impact on the exposed copper. In the experiment, small segments of copper were exposed to 45 different samples of drywall and evaluated using the XRF. The results show that the method can detect impacts on copper due to emissions from drywall and distinguish between corrosive and noncorrosive drywalls. The method affords corroborating evidence required by the interim guidance published in January 2010 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Department of Housing and Urban Development for homeowners in identifying homes with corrosion from problematic drywall. It also provides corroborating evidence for the Florida Department of Health Case Definition (12-18-09), Criteria 3.3.