The Hidden Dangers of Meth Residue
Typical recipes for meth contain a hazardous list of ingredients such as battery acid, brake fluid, red phosphorous, ether, benzene, methanol, ammonia, and many others. This toxic mixture is most volatile during the "cooking" of meth. However, smoke, vapor, spills, and improper disposal leave meth residue that can infiltrate air ducts, walls, carpets, drapes, ceiling tiles, floors, carpets, furnishings, clothing, and other surfaces. Can you imagine allowing spilled battery acid to remain in your home?
While meth labs produce excessive amounts of hazardous waste – some estimates says six pounds for every pound of meth produced – trace amounts of meth residue from using meth can also contaminate a building. Many states have meth lab disclosure laws on the books which can identify homes that are known former meth labs. However, there's nothing to address meth usage. If someone used meth in your home or building, it likely has traces of meth residue – and even these deposits can be harmful.
An EPA report, Detection of Illicit Drugs on Surfaces using Direct Analysis in Real Time, says that "Methamphetamine (meth) from meth syntheses or habitual meth smoking deposited on household surfaces poses human health hazards."
Meth testing professionals, meth cleanup crews, and meth contamination public adjusters alike usually wear protective gear including disposable clothing, gloves, booties, and masks. Depending on the level of contamination found, they may wear full hazmat suits or use respirators. They do this for a reason – to protect themselves from the hazardous chemicals left behind by meth cookers and meth users.
Unfortunately, meth residue often goes undetected and the building's occupants are unaware – and unprotected. Because of the potential harmful health consequences of meth, we highly recommend meth testing if you are unsure of the building's history.