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Radioactive materials may taint some Chinese drywall

Some Chinese-made drywall imported into the United States contained radioactive material, news reports suggest, but state and federal tests so far haven't detected it.

Copies of customs reports obtained by The Los Angeles Times show drywall made with a radioactive waste product was shipped to the states in 2006 by at least four Chinese manufacturers and trading firms.

The substance, called phosphogypsum, has been banned from use in nearly all products made in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency since 1989.

The EPA says that phosphogypsum, a fertilizer byproduct, contains uranium and radium.

Radium decays to form radon, a cancer-causing, radioactive gas. A geoscientist interviewed by The Times said the material can cause corrosion.

Chinese drywall is being blamed for making newer homes smell like chemicals or sulfur, corroding air conditioner coils, blackening jewelry and other metals and causing breathing problems, nosebleeds and headaches for residents.

But the limited number of tests performed on drywall so far don't show that the product contains any radioactive material.

To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.

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