Thursday, April 09, 2009
Senator Nelson asks Obama to fire nation's top consumer watchdog for "neglect of duty"
WASHINGTON, D.C. - With enough imports of tainted Chinese drywall since 2004 to build 70,000 American homes, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson wants the country’s top consumer advocate fired for not moving more quickly to protect homeowners from a defective product.
“I believe we have a serious problem with the Consumer Product Safety Commission ( CPSC ),” Nelson, a member of a Senate panel that oversees consumer affairs, said in a letter to President Barack Obama. “The agency is doing too little, too late to help residents of Florida and other states who are reporting serious health and safety problems associated with living in homes built with tainted drywall.”
In his letter, Nelson called on the president to fire the head of the CPSC, Nancy Nord, an appointee of President Bush who frequently has been criticized for being too cozy with manufacturers. Nelson said she should be removed for “neglect of duty.”
Nelson has spent this week touring homes and meeting homeowners across Florida from Lee, Manatee, Martin, Palm Beach, Broward and Dade counties. They are up in arms because they have found their homes contain tainted Chinese drywall.
And the tainted drywall isn’t limited to homes in Florida. Press reports indicate the drywall has been found in a number of other states including Louisiana, Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi and California.
The tainted material acts as a corrosive agent on metal, particularly air conditioning components and household wiring. Some also believe it poses a health risk.
Nelson has proposed legislation with Senate colleague Mary Landrieu of Louisiana to remedy the drywall problem. His bill, if made law, would initiate a drywall recall and would impose an immediate ban on imported Chinese drywall. The bill would also ask the CPSC to join with federal testing labs and the Environmental Protection Agency to determine the danger level of chemicals and compounds in the drywall.