Vancouver’s Toxic Drywall

Does It Ever Stop


“It’s scary, it’s a nightmare.

“We think we are looking at the worst case of sick houses in U.S. history,”

Thomas Martin, President of America’s Watchdog.

That impassioned statement should bring to your attention to yet another problem that we may have in a number of homes in the lower mainland. The Treehugger has a number of posts by Lloyd Alter here here and here.


In our hopes of finding a more economical way of building homes we have resorted to importing dry wall made in China. This adds to the litany of tainted milk, pet food and toys.

What Is The Problem

According to Canwest News and the Watchdog group – “this type of drywall was produced with materials that emit toxic hydrogen sulphide gas and other sulphide gases. These sulphide gases are also alleged to cause serious health conditions and illnesses, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, eye irritations and respiratory difficulties.”


The WatchDog suggests that if you suspect it is an affected home a quick inspection can be accomplished by removing electrical wall plates. They are kind enough to suggest you don’t touch the wires.

If the home is affected you can expect to see blackened, scorched wiring behind switch plates and wall plugs. Suspected is that it also causes early failure of appliances using copper in heating coils, water pipes, air conditioning and stove elements. An offshoot is that silver and flatware oxidizes at an alarming rate.

**Note: My recommendation – it’s not a Holmes on Homes moment – have your inspector conduct this work. It’s safer.

Complaints from homeowners living with toxic Chinese drywall claim they are suffering severe upper respiratory issues, headaches and nose bleeds.


According to Martin’s research, “at least 929,000 square metres were imported through Vancouver between 2001 and 2006, all bound for Canadian destinations.”

What to Do

Add this to your check list when buying a home. If the home was built between 2001 and 2007 – when the drywall was imported, try to determine from where the drywall originated – forewarned, this will prove difficult. At a minimum, you should insist that your property inspector conduct the appropriate tests and ensure that your inspector knows what to look for. Failing that, request from the seller written proof that satisfactory testing was conducted by a verifiable lab and that the lab assures that the drywall is safe.


Expect to see this terminology appearing in your Purchase agreement.

Buyer has been advised to have this property inspected for toxic drywall.

If you choose to waive your right to inspect or decide to without conditions you may see this:

The Buyer was advised prior to signing this contract to have this property inspected for toxic drywall.

Who to Call

News reports suggest that few government agencies are acknowledging awareness of this problem.

In lieu, call Homeowners Consumer Center Immediately at 866-714-6466, or contact them via their web site at Http://


This from the Owen Dickie, RHI, President of the Canadian Association of Home Property Inspectors (B.C.)

“At the present time we have no further information on how to identify the product or how much is in BC, but we will keep you posted.”

About Larry Yatkowsky

Larry is a recognized real estate expert. A veteran professional, his experienced counsel leads Vancouverites in his west side community to place their trust in a man passionate about his work. Uncompromising ethics bring a balanced approach to realizing your real estate dreams.

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*Disclaimer: Statistics Courtesy REBGV. While believed to be accurate they are not guaranteed.
**Numbers provided may vary as they are dynamically posted by the REBGV.

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