Welcome back to our two-part series on meth and pets. Last week we established that meth is toxic to our animal companions. Today we’ll go a bit deeper and explore the question: is the meth in your home dangerous for pets?
In order to discuss this topic, you’ll need to understand what we mean when we say meth residue. This is a substance left behind after meth is smoked or cooked. It has no obvious visual presence but can make you quite ill.
Furthermore, it has a long half-life. Without proper decontamination, meth residue can linger for years. (And testing is the only way to know, for sure, if your home is contaminated).
Finally, Utah’s decontamination standard is 1.0 μg/100 cm2. This means that (according to state law) any property that tests above that threshold is considered unsafe to inhabit. (The available research on target remediation standards supports this requirement).
Meth Residue and Pets
Now that we understand this substance a bit better, let’s get to the point. In our last blog, we discussed what happens when animals ingest or inhale meth. We were able to explore some scientific papers and case studies available on the subject.
Meth residue, however, is another matter. This topic is newer and more sparse than studies on the drug itself. And what research does exist, focuses primarily on people. So, to answer our question, we’ll have to make some logical conclusions.
- To start, let’s consider body size and exposure. Most studies of meth residue tend to place human infants in higher-risk categories. This is due to their low body weights, high contact with floors and surfaces, and hand to mouth behaviors. Following that same logic, animals may also be at a greater risk. They too spend more time in contact with floors and have lower body weights. As such it stands to reason that they may receive more concentrated doses of meth from certain materials, and with a potentially more sensitive system.
- Please note that meth residue can enter the environment through other ways besides porous materials, such as off-gassing. Ergo, we can’t confirm caged animals are safe. Our point is merely that coming in directed contact with the residue likely results in a higher dose.
- You may be wondering whether we know, for sure, if meth residue is dangerous. Obviously, some of that depends on circumstances. We’ll be covering that in weeks to come. However, the short answer is yes, we do. There are plenty of examples of people becoming sick after exposure, and the research is ongoing. So, if we know that an environment that tests above 1.0 μg/100 cm2 isn’t safe for people, we can conclude it isn’t safe for creatures with smaller body weights as well.
As you can see, there’s plenty of room for concern. Of course, logical conclusions aren’t hard science. But, until research catches up, they’re the best we have.
That means if you notice your animal acting oddly (and you suspect methamphetamine contamination), it may be wise to test your home. (And please consult your veterinarian immediately). Additionally, pets may contribute to whether or not you choose to decontaminate to a non-detectable standard (rather than the state’s threshold).
Our pets do everything in their power to bring us companionship and joy. In return, we can provide them with the best environments possible. If you’re worried about whether meth in your home is dangerous for pets, call a certified decontamination specialist today. If you’re in Utah, you can call us at 801-888-6698.
Image by Fran on Pixabay