Besides removing mold from homes, Bill Tyrrell, the owner of Triage BioClean Services, also expanded his services to include meth lab testing and cleanup. Over the years, he has become an expert in his area. Here, Tyrrell outlines a few signs of a meth lab, plus when and why you should test and remediate a property.
With all the worries and hassle in moving into a new house or purchasing a property, it never occurs to most buyers that the house may have been previously used as a meth laboratory. My intention isn’t to scare readers, but unfortunately, many homes in the United States have at least seen some meth use. Most law enforcement agencies report that meth use is second only to cocaine in causing violent crime.
A former meth lab can be dangerous long after it’s been abandoned. What many home shoppers don’t realize is that meth is most often produced in regular homes in regular neighborhoods. Most often over-the-counter cold medicines containing the chemical ephedrine and standard chemicals are produced in an ordinary house, just like yours. The byproducts of this process can be hazardous to you long after the meth cooks have abandoned shop.
In an effort to educate consumers, I’ve outlined a few ways to spot a house that was formerly a meth lab. If you spot these signs, consider having the home tested for meth:
Yellow Stains: If you spot yellow stains around the sinks, tubs or on the walls or ceilings, a lab may have been present.
Smells and Odors: Cooking meth comes with a fair share of odors, many of which can remain on the property long after the meth makers have vacated the premises. Smells include strong acrid odors, like paint thinner, ammonia, or cat urine.
Taped or Missing Smoke Detectors: Cooking meth produces a fair amount of smoke, so meth labs will typically be missing smoke detection devices.
Physical Symptoms: I’ve had calls from people who thought they were allergic to something in the house, but were actually reacting to residual chemicals left behind by the cooking process. Symptoms often include difficulty breathing, itchy throat, tearing eyes or a metallic taste in your mouth. If you experience these feelings, leave the house immediately.
Potential Dangers: Even if no residues or obvious indicators of cooking are left behind, a former lab can still be dangerous. Chemicals used to produce the drug can permeate walls, carpets, flooring and furniture. A few byproducts of meth production are mercury and lead. Meth residues, even when undetectable to the eye or nose, can cause headaches, eye irritation, skin rash, respiratory and breathing problems, coordination loss, dizziness, liver damage and damage to the central nervous system. This list is just the short-term affects as little is known on meth’s long-term influence on the body. Therefore, if a realtor has disclosed to you that a property was once a meth lab, regardless of whether or not it’s been cleaned, I recommend calling a professional to conduct further testing.
If you’ve discovered that your new property is a former meth lab, contact a qualified and experienced tester and remediation expert immediately. A meth lab is serious business, so don’t opt for the halfhearted quick fix.
A lot of my clients have asked me about the effectiveness of do-it-yourself home test kits. I can say with utmost certainty that if you want to remain on the safe side, skip these tests and call an experienced professional. First, no one should enter a potentially contaminated domicile, since the level of contamination can be dangerously high. Second, these home kits only test for residual methamphetamines and not chemicals used in production or harmful byproducts. Thus, home kits don’t really help you pinpoint the actual contamination problem.
Bill Tyrell is a writer for Yodle, a business directory and online advertising company. Find a <a href="http://local. yodle.com/articles">mold removal specialists or more <a href="http:// http://local. yodle.com/articles/topics/contractors-construction/home-improvement-remodeling-services/ "> mold removal articles at Yodle Local.