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September/October 2010

Strontium in Gypsum

Several years ago, a housing boom, followed by recovery from Hurricane Katrina and other storms, created a surge in the use of imported drywall in the United States, particularly in the Southeastern area of the country. However, since then there have been a number of complaints concerning corrosion and odors in homes in which some of this drywall was used.

Interim guidance offered by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that the analysis of strontium in drywall core can be corroborating evidence in identifying affected drywall board in homes. A proposed new ASTM standard, WK28941, Test Method for Determination of Strontium Concentration in Gypsum by Field Portable X-Ray Fluorescence, focuses on a means of testing strontium in wallboard.

WK28941 is being developed by Subcommittee C11.01 on Specifications and Test Methods for Gypsum Products, part of ASTM International Committee C11 on Gypsum and Related Building Materials and Systems.

According to Matthew Kreiner, senior applications engineer, Oxford Instruments, and a C11 member, users of WK28941 will be certified home inspectors, and the homeowners, insurance companies and municipalities that hire inspectors to perform these tests.

“WK28941 will provide the means for an inspector to reliably, quickly and nondestructively determine the concentration of strontium in drywall as part of a comprehensive home inspection performed to identify problem drywall,” says Kreiner. “Field portable, hand-held XRF analyzers have been for many years invaluable tools for the inspection of restricted or harmful elements in many industries, including consumer products, electronics and soil, and provide an excellent method for analyzing drywall core.”


Technical Information: Matthew Kreiner, Oxford Instruments, Concord, Mass.

Phone: 978-369-9933

ASTM Staff: Thomas O’Toole

Phone: 610-832-9739