Methamphetamine use and production is becoming almost commonplace. As many as one in ten homes – across the board – may be contaminated with meth, according to one government estimate. The contamination is found in homes of all types, sizes, and locations. Occupying a home contaminated with high levels of methamphetamine or meth production chemicals can lead to severe health complications. Aside from being highly addictive (and illegal), meth is relatively easy to make, which only adds to its prevalence. Each state has a drug lab decontamination regulation guideline, and meth cleanup in Utah must adhere to these regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA developed a clandestine drug lab decontamination guideline, but this is not law.
It is essential to get a meth or drug home properly decontaminated and cleaned up. Methamphetamine and methamphetamine production are a dangerous and rampant health hazard in Utah. When meth is used or produced it leaves a hard to residue throughout the home which can be difficult to remove. The residue can linger in the home and continue to pose serious health concerns long after the meth users or producers have left the area.
Unfortunately, methamphetamine residues are odorless and colorless. Most homeowners won’t know that their home was contaminated until they begin to have health issues like headaches, colds, breathing problems, nervousness, anxiety attacks, and confusion. In some extreme cases, occupants of contaminated homes have been known to suffer from convulsions and even the death of their pets. Acute exposure to meth can result in chemical burns on the skin, eyes, mouth, and nose. Long-term cancer is a risk as are miscarriage and congenital disabilities. If you feel that you are living near a former meth lab, contact your local authorities and seek a formal evaluation of the environment, then call a meth residue cleanup company in Utah.
The chemicals used in making meth have another set of dangers. Many of the chemicals involved are known to be cancer causing or carcinogenic. In one horrific story, the previous renters of a home left dangerous chemicals from their meth lab behind the property’s barn. One of the horses nuzzled a brush pile that contained chemicals from meth manufacture. The horse suffered cancerous sores all over its nose and cheeks and eventually had to be put down.
Meth residue cleanup is of concern since meth is a synthetic drug and is the result of a complicated and highly dangerous chemical manufacturing process. Common street drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin are derived from natural substances in plants and usually only harm the user, but meth is different. Because it is a synthetic and manufactured drug, places where it is in production are highly dangerous not only to the people in the house but the entire neighborhood. Explosions and house fires have been caused by meth production.
If you are unsure about the dangerous nature of meth production, why then, do law enforcement, public health officials and meth cleanup specialists in Utah only enter a contaminated home with the protection of goggles, respirators, gloves and hazmat suits? These officials know that the lab is a hazardous waste site.
Meth Cleanup in Utah
Utah has meth contamination ratios that are 1.0 ug/100cm2. In addition to these regulations, different counties have specific rules and laws. Utah requires an owner to disclose methamphetamine contamination that occurs by storage, use or production on their property.
In 2004, the Drug Lab Cleanup and Disclosure Bill was introduced and passed in the legislature. It requires law enforcement agencies to report contaminated property locations to the local health departments. The local health department is required to make this report available to the public as an “information only” document.
The health department is required to notify the property owner of the report and notify the county or city if the property owner is not acting to clean up the contamination. The Department of Health rules that certification standards regarding the cleanup of contaminated properties be published. Furthermore, this bill established a program to certify drug or meth clean up in Utah specialists.
Once a property has been contaminated by meth manufacture or usage, it will stay contaminated until adequately decontaminated. Proper decontamination standards require that you contact your local health department for county-specific decontamination procedures. Once your property tests positive for meth, it is your responsibility to make sure it is decontaminated in accordance with State of Utah Rule 392-600.
Once contamination is confirmed, the property is placed on the local health department contaminated properties list. You will need to contact a certified decontamination specialist who will know the proper procedures to clean up your meth contamination.
Regulations require you to submit a work plan to the local health department before you begin decontamination. Confirmation samples must be taken by a meth cleanup specialist in Utah to fulfill the state standards concerning meth contamination.
Once confirmation sampling is being done, and when the cleanup is finished, a Final Report needs to be submitted to the local health department. Once the report is reviewed and the property receives a final inspection, if all is well, your property can be removed from the contaminated list.
Guidelines for Cleaning Meth Properties
Generalized rules that are followed by most states include:
Remove stained or smelly wall surfaces. Clean, smooth walls, then encapsulated them by painting them or using other sealants to slow the release of contamination. Check for asbestos before cleaning or removing a textured wall. If there is no asbestos, wash and encapsulate it. Remove all absorbent building materials like insulation that is stained or smelly.
Discard or clean ceiling fans, remove and replace stained ceilings and check textured ceilings for asbestos. Those ceilings that do not have asbestos paint them.
Wash and re-seal sheet laminate or vinyl tile. Discard porous floors like wood or cork floors. Remove floors in high-traffic areas. Vacuum to remove dust from subflooring and remove tile floor if they are porous. Grind down and replace grout, then seal it or seal over it.
If you can tell a countertop is contaminated or porous, throw it away. Sand down and wash non-porous countertops. Remove ceramic and stone countertops if they are in high impact areas. If you have concrete cement or brick wash floors or counters, wash with a detergent-water solution. You may need to remove these types of surfaces.
Throwaway contaminated appliances, electronics, and tools. Discard small appliances used in meth-making or storage. Make sure you wash the outside of small appliances used in meth production to protect refuse workers. It might be best not to use appliances used in the manufacture of meth.
Triple wash windows.
Outlet covers, and switch plates should be replaced.
Plates and household items: Discard any household items used in meth making. Wash everything these touched by meth-making items.
All contaminated toys should be discarded in a way the prevents reuse. Stuffed animals and other porous toys need to be thrown away.
You must remove and throw way carpet. Don’t clean it. Throw away the padding and flooring under the carpet. They are probably contaminated.
Destroy and discard. You may be able to strip the upholstery and cushions and clean, but why take the chance?
Most states recommend tossing mattresses.
Paper and books
Throw away everything except important legal or historical documents and photos. Paper is porous and can absorb meth contamination.
If your mobile home was used as a meth lab, it would be best to demolish the mobile home. Mobile homes have many different porous surfaces where meth fumes can hide.
These procedures can be followed, but you do need to have an inspector certify that the home is habitable, again. The best way to ensure that a meth house is cleaned up is to hire a meth cleanup company in Utah and follow their instructions.