April 2015

Living in a Meth Lab – Meth in Your Own Home, Business, or Car

Posted by MikaB on April 28, 2015

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The methamphetamine (meth)  lab problem is growing. Meth labs, used to make the illegal drug methamphetamine, are discovered in houses, apartments, motel rooms, sheds, or even motor vehicles. Just as of 2014, federal, state and local authorities were involved in the seizure of more than 1,045 labs in Missouri alone, and the number of meth labs seized by law enforcement agencies increases each year.

As the problem grows, and companies work to restrict the products needed to make methamphetamine, the methods and the locations of its production are changing. This adds to the trouble that health and environmental agencies face in monitoring meth related health risks.

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Everyone knows that meth is bad for your health. When people make or smoke meth everything around them is coated with a film that contains methamphetamine. When people or pets rub against these contaminated surfaces the meth enters their bodies through their skin and contact from hands to mouth and nose. Babies who crawl on contaminated carpets and furniture are most vulnerable. They naturally get the highest doses. How much third hand meth exposure is too much?

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The effects of meth residue transfer on to people through surface contact has been compared to studies that include: ingestion of pesticides that are sprayed on surfaces and absorbed through skin and mouth; level of adverse reactions from methamphetamine for children when used for behavioral issues; pregnant women using methamphetamine for weight control.

Some expert researchers, however, linked meth houses to respiratory, even neurological problems, in children. Research conducted by Mike Van Dyke at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colorado, reveals very high levels of toxic chemicals are produced during meth cooking and hazardous chemical exposures can continue in rooms and buildings for an extended period of time, even if there is no methamphetamine left present in the home.

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Using these studies, proposed residue limits of .05, .1, .5 and 1 micro gram per hundred square centimeters, or the amount of meth residue that on a  surface a little larger than a square yard, were studied to decide if they offered protection for occupants. These also happen to be the lowest levels detected by test kits available to professionals.

Currently, there is no one method for tracking or listing homes that were used as meth labs. MDOH is creating a list of reported addresses. Your local health department can verify if the property in on that list. You should call your local law enforcement agency to confirm that a seizure of chemicals took place on the property, and to get the name of any hazardous materials contractor who may have removed materials. The contractor should have information on what chemicals were present on the property. Additional information may be obtained from your county health department, fire department, or the owner of the property. To find contact info or specific statistics on the states we work with select a state link:

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Exposure to any toxic material isn’t healthy, but in our modern world we are constantly faced with pollution from sources we may not even be aware of. We have come a long way in protecting people from dangerous materials such as lead and asbestos, and mold. Unfortunately, the odds of meth manufacturers and users becoming environmentally responsible and protecting the rest of us from their pollution, are very low.  It’s up to you to decide if the protection offered by laws and regulations is enough to protect you and your family from this danger.

We here at Titan dedicate all of our to time protecting the environment around you and your family. Whether it be the hazardous chemicals from a previous meth lab , lead paint in your home, mold growing silently behind your walls , or asbestos lingering in your home; our goal is to make sure everyone is safe from these silent dangers. Now is the time to take the steps to having a clean worry free home by getting an inspection. From there, if the test result come back positive, schedule an appointment with us and rest easy knowing that Titan Environmental Services will take thorough action to protect your family from anymore potential risk.