When it comes to meth, most people don’t think of vehicle decontamination. In fact, methamphetamine residue is typically seen as a problem specific to houses. That’s fair, given that the majority of available research focuses on household environments. Even so, this wily substance can surprise you. It has a knack for turning up in unexpected places, which absolutely includes cars and other motor vehicles.
How Do Vehicles Become Contaminated With Meth?
Meth leaves behind a sticky residue, one that can cause various health problems. You can read more about that in our blogs or visit our page on the symptoms of meth exposure. For now, know that this substance clings to surfaces, without any distinct signs. As you breathe in the fumes or come in contact with contamination, there’s a real potential of finding you or your loved ones ill.
One way meth ends up in cars is through someone smoking inside the vehicle. That could be a child, friend, neighbor – anyone with access to your car. And unfortunately, you can’t always tell who’s using based on appearances. In fact, roughly 1.6 million Americans used meth in 2017 alone. If each smokes in just five locations, they can potentially contaminate millions of properties. And chances are good that’s going to include millions of cars.
Another common reason for vehicular contamination is theft. If someone steals a car the odds are good they’ve used or transported drugs. Obviously, that’s not always the case, but it happens. Police in Utah even recommend testing any time they return a stolen car. And neglecting that advice can lead to illness or other health problems.
Of course, stolen cars aren’t the only avenues to consider. Mobile meth labs, buying a vehicle at auction, salvage titles, or buying a used car directly from an owner can all lead to unexpected contamination. These scenarios can seem like dream deals at first – until you end up with a positive test.
There Could Be Meth In My Car. What Should I Do?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to simply look in a car and confirm contamination. The only way to know is to test. And, because cars are enclosed spaces with high potential for exposure, we recommend having the help of a Certified Decontamination Specialist. They have the skills and training for effective testing and meth removal. They are also more likely to do the job right the first time, which may save you money down the road.
At AEI Decon, we include the following with every vehicle decontamination:
- A visual inspection for sharps or other drug paraphernalia
- Overall sanitization through our specialized procedures
- Treatment of upholstery and interior (often a multistep and repeated process)
- Treatment of the air circulation system with detergents specialized for breaking down meth
- Packing of personal items, and consultation on disposal or cleaning of those items
- A guarantee of our work
After these steps, we retest the vehicle to ensure successful meth removal.
Keep in mind your insurance company may help pay for some or all of this process. Make sure to call them first. And be aware of your policy before taking the next step.
For questions or help with testing or vehicle decontamination and meth, be sure to call a Certified Decontamination Specialist in your area. If you’re in Utah, call us at (801) 888-6698.