A Former Contractor Reports On The New Epidemic Of Faulty Chinese Cast Iron Pipes

From: Steve Smith [Email him]

I used to be a contractor, cast iron is supposed to last “indefinitely“, 50,75,100 years or more. But not if it comes from China!

Is Chinese cast iron piping the next ‘Chinese dry wall’ epidemic?

By John Morally

PropertyCasualty360

August 14, 2014

Chinese Manufactured Cast Iron Soil Pipe and Fittings used in storm and sanitary drain, waste, and vent plumbing systems in the US may be the next “Chinese Dry Wall” epidemic. The burning question plaguing the construction and insurance industries is whether the Chinese manufactured cast iron piping being dumped into the US market is sub-standard? It has proven impossible to get recourse from the Chinese manufacturers because of their defective products. Their refusal to stand by their cast iron plumbing products, when they fail after installation, leaves a number of US stakeholders in an adverse situation.

The financial liability associated with sub-standard imported Cast Iron Soil Pipe and Fittings is being passed on to the US companies that either sold or installed this defective material. Then, in turn, this financial liability is being passed on to insurance companies. This hidden liability is turning the insurance underwriting world upside down. For this reason, several leading insurance companies are deciding whether to walk away from insuring both wholesale distributors and contractors that choose to buy and install cast iron pipe made in China.[More ]

Most of the homes built in the US in the last 10 years might have some Chinese cast iron pipes (they’re quieter than plastic for toilet drains in multi-story structures), many of those homes are in foreclosure or upside down, and when the pipes break the “tenants” will walk.

Another bailout, rehabbing upside down homes with broken Chinese pipes.

See more letters from Steve Smith.

James Fulford writes: I never even heard of the “Chinese Dry Wall” problem, though I have read that various products intended for human consumption were actually poisonous. [China’s poisonous exports | PRC products aren’t just cheap, they’re dangerous, By Brett M. Decker and William C. Triplett II, Washington Times, November 15, 2011]

However, I do have a relevant personal experience–20 years ago, I found that you could buy Chinese-made screwdrivers for a dollar in Dollar Store. The only problem was that because of cheap steel and bad machining, they wouldn’t turn screws.