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Wet lumber and autism

An additional note on the $22.6 million settlement (Nov. 8) of a claim by a family in Manhattan Beach, Calif. (which is local to me) that moldy lumber caused their son's autism:

The suit blames Crenshaw Lumber for not tarping their inventory. Well, guess what? Nobody in the area does that, for the simple fact(s) that:

A. It doesn't rain very often.

B. Lumber inventory turns over very fast due to the high volume of building and remodeling that takes place in the South Bay.

C. Even if it does rain, the best solution is to just let the lumber sit and dry out in the sun that will be coming out the next day (and the next, and the next, and ....)

However, once the lumber is delivered to the site, Crenshaw Lumber has no control over its further disposition.

Buildtimes in the South Bay seem to average about 6-8 months, and in many cases more, four years in one instance I know of. During that time a construction site can be blasted by rain -- and I do mean blasted -- two, three, or four times, or even more, by the Pacific storms that routinely sweep through the beach cities during the winter and spring. (In addition, the constant moist salt air does its bit too. Steel is rusted out in two years, and that's even if it's galvanized.) Yet -- and this is generally speaking -- I've yet to see a builder tarp a site to keep it dry during these seasons.

So, claims about mold causing autism aside (total B.S.!), is the lumber being "wet" and "causing mold" really Crenshaw's fault, or is it the result of a combination of factors - lengthy buildtime, seasonal storms, moist salt air, builder practices, and perhaps also the modern trend toward well sealed houses that can't and/or are not allowed by their owners to air out?

As an aside, I was struck by Gorman's comment that now he could "build a really nice house." The houses in that area already ARE really nice. What he's implying, I believe, is that the house he bought -- he didn't commission it initially -- was not as nice (or as big) as he wanted (or could afford). But now he can afford it.... -- Vic Benstead, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.


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