Meth Residue Testing
Yes, it’s a thing – and a problem…
Innocent renters and home buyers are paying their way into sickness as these homes go undetected. It is recommended that methamphetamine rescue testing be carried out to protect yourself and your family from these health risks before you move into a rental house or purchase a home. Meth contamination in homes is becoming a major issue. The number of meth lab raids has doubled over the past six years and that’s only the known labs. Most do not realize it, but the biggest threat is from rental properties and not meth labs, it’s meth users. Smoking meth inside regularly can contaminate a home and regular smoking of the drug can return meth contamination readings as high as those produced by a meth lab. As a property owner, manager, you are responsible for ensuring a property is safe for habitation. Landlords face law suits from tenants moving into an already-contaminated property, and adjoining neighbors may also seek legal advice. As a buyer, the clean up can be very expensive and the hidden costs may exceed that of the home.
How does Meth Contaminate a Building?
When meth is smoked the crystals are heated and change form. Those tiny particles that become airborne and do not make it into the user’s system it will land on the walls, floors, ceilings and any soft furnishings. Once the smoke hits these surfaces, the drug embeds itself into the surface and eventually changes back to its original form, tiny crystals. When manufacturing (often called cooking), it’s the same principle, but worse. When manufacturing takes place, you deal with toxic chemicals like mercury, lead, iodine, lithium, and toxic solvents that could spill and become airborne through the cooking process. This is how a home becomes contaminated.
While other drugs are usually plant-based, meth is cooked up using these synthetic human-made materials. Meth will break down eventually, but in the meantime, it affects the health of humans and animals coming in contact with it. The effects we are seeing include a persistent cough, asthma and ADHD like symptoms, decreased memory function, trouble sleeping, skin rashes, watery eyes, dizziness, and blurry vision —the list continues. While contamination is reportedly affecting people of all ages who live in homes where meth is/has been used or made, young children and pets are the ones most affected. This is because they come in contact with floors and walls though playing and bare skin contact more regularly than adults.
Health Effects from Meth Contamination
The EPA says that meth contamination above 0.5 micro grams in a space 100 cm square (0.5μg/100 cm²) is not acceptable. While meth residue is odorless and invisible, exposure can cause a wide range of health problems for the property’s occupants, including:
- Respiratory problems – especially for those suffering from asthma
- Behavior problems in young children
- Sleep pattern changes in children
- Increased susceptibility to illness
- Eye and skin irritation
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) maintains a database of known locations for clandestine meth labs. However, this list is dependent upon local law enforcement agencies submitting the information (many don’t) and is largely known to be inaccurate. Consider this – it’s also a list of “known lab raids” not user locations. This list also contains addresses of some locations where law enforcement agencies reportedly found chemicals or other items, indicating the presence of either clandestine drug laboratories or dumpsites.
Drinking water quality may be required for HUD loan products. We always recommend this test when purchasing a home on a well. This basic test can keep your family healthy.
Lead Based Paint
If your home was Built prior to 1978 consider lead based paint testing. It’s likely there are areas present, however, it’s only problematic under certain conditions.
Long known to be a health hazard, Asbestos can be expensive to remediate and is still found in older homes – siding, tiles, HVAC insulation, and attic insulation are all potential sources.