Health Hazards of Past Meth Labs

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When you rent or buy a new property, probably one of the worst things you can find out is that it used to be a past meth lab.

Methamphetamine is a crystal that vaporises when heated. The vapor clings to surfaces and reforms into crystals. It can permeate into walls, furnishings, vents and even structural components of the building. Unlike the usual street drugs such as marijuana or cocaine which are created from natural plant-based substances, methamphetamine is a purely synthetic drug where the cooking process is not only incredibly dangerous in itself, but also produces dangerous chemicals, bio-hazardous waste and chemical by-products that seep into and cling onto porous items in your property. Meth labs are considered hazardous waste sites and should only be entered by licensed meth lab remediation professionals. Often new tenants and buyers are unaware of the past lab’s existence either during inspecting the property, or worse, after moving in – It is then that they may start to experience terrible health issues which may provoke further investigation.

People who come in contact with surfaces that have been contaminated by meth can ingest the meth through their skin or by touching contaminated surfaces then touching mouth, nose or eyes. Babies and pets are especially vulnerable. They live in a world where they crawl on all fours and everything is sampled by tasting. It takes only small amounts of meth to affect a baby or a dog.

Not only are chemicals dispersed during meth production, but meth itself becomes airborne during cooking and can contaminate an entire house. Imagine a young child crawling on carpet, touching walls and other surfaces, then the child puts a hand in his or her mouth and gets a dose of the drug. Typically, according to reported instances, residents complain of respiratory problems, scratchy throats, kidney problems, migraines, skin problems, sinus problems, paranoia, irritability, sleep issues and many other irritations. There have also been some reports of neurological problems in children.

Common Contamination Areas Found in Past Meth Labs

Cooking Areas

Higher contamination in these areas is always found and can be caused by spills, fumes, explosions and gasses created during the cooking process.
Disposal Areas
Anywhere chemicals, by-products or materials used to create meth are disposed of including toilets, sinks, drains, vents, chimney flumes, soil, water and groundwater including supplies, bins and septic systems.

Storage Areas

Meth Lab decontamination will also be needed in areas the cooked meth and drugs have been stored. Leaks, spills and open containers all have the possibility to cause contamination.

Other possible locations that may need remediation

Locations adjacent, or near, to any primary area including hallways or high traffic areas. Common areas in multiple dwelling structures and adjacent apartment including floors, walls, ceilings, carpeting, light fixtures, draperies and other textile products. Common ventilation or plumbing systems in hotels and multiple dwellings.

What should I do if I suspect my property was a past meth lab?

Past meth lab homes can still be contaminated after 10 years and beyond, still causing ill health in their inhabitants. If you have experienced ANY kind of ill health after moving into a different house, the best thing you can do is give us a call at Disaster Restorations Australia where we can send out one of our qualified professional technicians to test your home and give you appropriate advice as to how to proceed from there. If results conclude that you are in need of a decontamination we will guide you through the procedures from start to finish. Our staff will look after all clients with care and empathy during this challenging process.