Chinese drywall – an environmental problem ignored?

Blogger Michael D. Shaw wonders why, at a time when a heightened sensitivity to chemicals in the environment has activists and the media going into panic mode,  no-one  is paying attention to the problem of imported Chinese drywall:

“Upwards of 60,000 homes, and possibly as many as 300,000, are affected by the sulfide spewing gypsum board. In addition to the highly publicized corrosion of all sorts of metal parts, including air conditioning coils, and the obnoxious sulfide odors, nearly all residents of these homes are reporting health effects—usually upper respiratory complaints.

Moreover, there are dozens of reports of affected families who have left their homes, whose symptoms disappear completely in a few days. Absent actual medical tests, field confirmation of health effect etiology does not get a whole lot better than this.”

Where, asks Shaw, is the outrage? Could it be that even though ordinary consumers are affected in a real rather than hypothetical way, there is just nothing in the issue for either green groups or federal officials to get excited about?


4 Responses to Chinese drywall – an environmental problem ignored?

  1. D.E. says:

    Could it be that by asking slanted hypothetical questions that aren’t answered in your post or in the linked post, you’re trying to make the case for a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy?

    Could it be that statements such as

    “As to the usual fear entrepreneurial ‘green’ groups such as NRDC, EWG, and US-PIRG, since there is no evil American corporation to blame this on—thus not fitting their Marxist tendencies—they are silent, even though real health effects are being experienced by real people”

    are pointlessly incendiary and within about a hair’s width of Godwin’s Law? Marxist? Really?

    Great argument, there.

    • Sometimes the point of a blog post is simply to link to another thought-provoking blog post — to recognize its existence and potential interest rather than to summarize it, subject it to fine-grained analysis, and to concur or disagree. All of these are useful activities, to be sure, but not all necessarily apply to every post. If you think Shaw is being too incendiary, perhaps the best course is to engage him directly by posting your comment on his blog?

  2. Michael Shaw says:


    I’ll save you the trouble.

    1. The question posted was not hypothetical, and I did offer an answer, namely that the groups are not taking up an environmental cause that does not fit the “evil corporation is the perp” agenda. Moreover, in this case, the usual suspects didn’t even pull out their other mantra: “US environmental agencies are in league with the evil corporate polluters.”

    2. To deny that the fear entrepreneur wing of the so-called Green movement has been hijacked by Marxists, or if you prefer Leftists, is patently absurd. There have been so many essays with the title of “From Red to Green,” including the original version which was, in fact, a manifesto for a new direction for the Left, that this point is hardly worth arguing.

    3. I have no idea where the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy comes in here. What was Trevor trying to prove in any case?

    4. Invoking Godwin’s Law is completely irrelevant as well. This “law” refers to mentioning Nazis or Hitler for shock value, where the reference is usually not apt. When I said “Marxist,” that is exactly what I meant.

    5. Finally, my posting was not “pointlessly incendiary.” It was purposefully incendiary.

  3. […] once I agree with Trevor Butterworth of Stats, who asks “where is the outrage?” when it comes to the question of why people are not […]

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