The article "Florida Contractor’s Defibrillator Deployment Recharges Its Workforce Retention Effort" was a good subject with great information. All construction companies should step up a little closer to this plate as they are talk about safety programs. A year ago, I fell into the 5% group [who survive a sudden heart attack], and am thankful that site personnel not only carried personal cell phones but also had the presence of mind to immediately call 911. The EMT’s use of the automated external defibrillator (AED) kept me alive until I arrived at the emergency room.

On-site defibrillators, and knowledge by all in how to use them, are as important as safety harnesses, hard hats, safety glasses and even the OSHA 10-hour safety course, perhaps more so. They can prevent trauma to construction workers and to their families. I thank Moss & Associates for its concern for its employees and everyone on its jobsites, and ENR for making more companies and people aware of AEDs.

I was grateful to be able to read your timely article.

Kenneth R. Hicks Jr.
Site Superintendent
Kansas City, Mo

Fly Ash Is Not Used by U.S. Gypsum Makers

I feel that it is important to correct a misconception that appeared in the Feb. 9, 2009, story "Chinese-Made Drywall is Causing Lawsuits in Florida." The article creates the incorrect impression that fly ash is used in the manufacture of gypsum drywall. I can assure you that North American manufacturers do not use fly ash to manufacture drywall.

The problematic issues referenced are exclusively related to drywall manufactured in China. The Gypsum Association represents North American manufacturers of gypsum drywall, and the problems with China-made drywall are not relevant to the members of this organization.

Drywall manufactured in North America can be manufactured using synthetic gypsum, a by-product material obtained primarily from the desulfurization of flue gases in coal-fired powerplants. The end product of the desulfurization scrubbing process is calcium sulfate, a high-purity mineral identical in chemical composition to natural gypsum ore. In contrast, fly ash is a residue created by the burning of coal. It has a different chemical composition than synthetic gypsum and cannot be used as synthetic gypsum.

Synthetic core gypsum drywall has been manufactured in North America for over two decades without a hint of any problems similar to those noted in the article. All Gypsum Association members subscribe to an on-going third-party, in-plant product inspection and labeling service.

Michael A. Gardner
Executive Director
Gypsum Association