At least two builders were ``panicking'' in late 2006 over the smell coming from drywall they had acquired from Miami-based Banner Supply, according to e-mails and letters, and the builders had isolated the problem to wallboard made by a Chinese manufacturer.
Despite concerns -- one builder said it could not sell some of its homes because the smell was so potent -- none went public with their problems. It wasn't until at least two years later that homeowners began reporting the effects of hydrogen sulfide emissions from the drywall eating away at their properties, and some believe, their health.
The letters and e-mails are part of court files in local and federal lawsuits against many companies in the drywall production and supply chain. The documents offer a glimpse of what some call a concerted effort to deceive consumers.
``What I can say for the consumers: They were duped,'' Miami attorney Ervin Gonzalez said.
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