Meth Lab Decontamination: A Review of Current Practices
Speaker: Sheila D Pressley, M.S.
Assistant Professor, Eastern
Level of Knowledge: Basic
Methamphetamine (meth) is a synthetic amphetamine that can be made with common household items such as drain cleaner and cold medications. In addition to the people who cook or use meth, first responders, hazardous materials technicians, and property owners are also at risk to the dangers of meth. Hazardous materials technicians are involved in decontaminating meth labs after an arrest or drug lab seizure is made. For each pound of methamphetamine produced, five to six pounds of toxic waste are produced. The hazardous and explosive toxic chemicals involved in making meth are absorbed into the walls, vents, drains and carpets of homes, motel rooms, or other locations where meth is produced. Since meth labs are an emerging problem, there are currently no federal guidelines or regulations on how to clean up former meth lab properties for reoccupation. .
Athough there are no
federal decontamination guidelines for meth contaminated sites or dwellings,
some states have adopted recommended procedures for remediating
meth labs. Some states have also
developed programs designed to alert the public about dangerous properties
formerly used as meth labs. Meth lab
incidents were reported in every state in 2004 except
Methamphetamine is produced in various setting such as homes, motels, sheds, caves, trailers and motor vehicles, using common household chemicals and over the counter cold medications. The most common ingredient is pseudoephedrine or ephedrine which can be found in common cold medications. Drug makers or “cookers,” as they are typically called, mix and cook in other ingredients such as gasoline, rubbing alcohol, antifreeze, chlorine, drain cleaner and chemical fertilizer. This presentation will examine the processes that many states are using to remediate meth labs, and protect the public from exposure. The presentation will also discuss the health effects of meth exposure in children and adults.
After the presentation, attendees will understand: