Buying or renting a home or property involves many steps, including knowing the history of a home before a decision is made. Sadly, not all problems with a home are disclosed before you sign off on buying it. It’s important to know if repair work has been done on a home, it has been a part of a crime scene, or if there was a meth lab operating there.
It can be frustrating and disturbing to find that a meth lab existed on your property. Houses that were formerly used as meth labs put the new tenants at risk of serious health issues.
Methamphetamine is a crystal substance that vaporizes when it is heated. The vapor gets into surfaces inside the home and recrystallizes as it cools off. Over time, the amount of meth increases and leaves unhealthy levels of chemicals in the walls, ceilings, carpets, draperies, and other furnishings. These toxins spread throughout the home and can harm those living in it.
Hazards of Meth Houses
A former meth house contains toxicity permeating all areas of the home. The ingredients used to make meth include highly dangerous chemicals. They include a mix of decongestants, insecticides, and other hazardous substances. If the home is not decontaminated properly, the will very negatively affect the health of the occupants of the home.
Meth causes health problems not just for those who use the drug, but also for others who are exposed to the chemicals by living in or near a former meth lab. The risk of injury from chemical exposure depends on the chemical itself, the concentration, the quantity, and the length and route of exposure. Chemicals may enter the body by being breathed, eaten, injected, or absorbed into the skin.
Prolonged exposure to a meth lab can results in a number of negative issues.
- Health Problems
Those that end up living in a former meth house can develop health issues within months. Sinus problems, migraines, respiratory issues, skin irritations, and burns are some of the short-term illnesses residents deal with. In some cases,, individuals report constant sickness and the inability to sleep. The possible long-term health effects are less understood but no less scary.
There are also instances of meth traces showing up in the bloodwork of people who have never used the substance. That’s why law enforcement and professional cleaning companies enter former meth homes with respirators, so they don’t inhale the toxic air.
Inhalation or skin exposure may result in injury from corrosive substances present in a meth lab. Exposure to solvents can irritate the mucous membranes, respiratory tract, and cause central nervous system effects.
- Effects on Children
Children living in a toxic environment are susceptible to the harsh effects of meth. Small children crawl on the ground putting objects in their mouths. Children should be assessed for meth toxin contamination immediately if you suspect meth has been cooked in the home. They can develop serious lung issues, be unable to gain weight, and have other health problems that can affect their development.
- Corrosive and Environmental Effects
As an environmental hazard, meth labs can contaminate their surroundings with harmful fumes and highly explosive chemical compounds. The solvents in meth are dangerous because of their fire and explosive properties. A single spark can ignite the contents of a meth lab. Solvent chemicals may be dumped into the ground, sewers, or septic systems. This contaminates the surface water, groundwater, and wells.
Is Your Home a Former Meth House?
There are some elements to look for to determine if the home you’re in or looking to buy or rent might be a former meth lab. Many of the meth houses that are discovered are listed in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Clandestine Laboratory Register or on other state databases. If the entire home’s history has not been disclosed to you, here are a few ways to recognize a former meth house.
- Unusual, strong odors like ammonia, acetone, or other chemicals
- Coffee filters containing a white pasty substance, a dark red paste, or small amounts of shiny white crystals
- Shacks or cabins with windows blacked out
- Open windows vented with fans during the winter
- Large amounts of items such as antifreeze containers, lantern fuel cans, lithium batteries, and empty battery packages.
- Unusual amounts of clear glass containers
- Information from neighbors
Test Your Home for Meth
If you find that your property has been used as a meth lab, PureOne Services of St. Louis offers affordable, effective drug lab testing and decontamination services. We use the most advanced cleanup technologies and techniques to disinfect your property and restore the space to a livable condition. Contact us immediately if you have concerns.