As South Florida homeowners suffered from the side effects of having Chinese drywall in their houses, a South Florida supplier knew it could happen, but opted to keep silent.
Court documents obtained by NBCMiami revealed that a company that made the dangerous drywall had a distributer who discovered the potential problems sign a confidential agreement to stay silent.
The news comes as the first Chinese drywall lawsuit makes its way through the Miami-Dade court system.
Banner had the foreign panels in its inventory replaced with newer ones, but as part of the deal, the company could not make any statements "regarding any perceived or actual smell or health risks," the contract read.
The mixture of chemicals in Chinese drywall emits sulfurous gases when heated, which is problematic in the humid and high temperatures of South Florida. Beyond the fact that it stinks, literally, the emissions can cause respiratory tract infections and can force sinus problems to flare up.
"It was impossible to track down homeowners once the trouble became known because the Chines drywall was mixed in with other panels," Banner attorney Michael Peterson said.
The secret was also kept from any people who had already bought the dangerous drywall from Banner and had it installed in homes before the company made the gag order deal.
Attorneys claim the vital information could have have helped homeowners avoid health issues and hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs to rip the poisonous building material out of their homes.
Tune in to NBC Miami news at 6 p.m. to learn more about the Chinese drywall trial and what you can do to protect your home.