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Meth Residue Testing in Oregon and Southern Washington

Meth is made from common household items that are readily available at supermarkets and hardware stores. When these ingredients are mixed together or “cooked” to produce the drug, they generate a large amount of chemical waste. This waste is typically dumped down the drain, but may be stored, buried, or dumped elsewhere on the property.

Surfaces in the residence may become contaminated with this waste and be corrosive. If not properly decontaminated, residual wastes can remain on surfaces for years. This is why meth labs are considered hazardous and should only be handled by hazardous waste professionals.

If you come upon a suspected lab or discover any chemicals that were improperly disposed of, do not touch anything! The first step in the cleanup process is to contact a state licensed decontamination contractor. These contractors have hazardous materials training and know how to properly evaluate and decontaminate meth lab properties.

After removing illicit laboratory equipment and chemicals, residual amounts of some chemical substances may persist on building surfaces and furnishings prior to cleanup or decontamination. Substances present in the active lab, including gases or volatile solvents, will dissipate rapidly with ventilation unless large amounts of exposed chemicals remain.

Residual solids and liquids in the form of surface residues, spills, etc. will remain in place unless physically removed. Until completely and thoroughly removed, there is a possibility of being exposed to these residuals risking injury. The longer the exposure, the greater the potential for harm. Exposure over an extended period of time (months to years to a lifetime) is known as “chronic exposure.” Not much is known about the chronic health effects from methamphetamine labs. There is scientific evidence, however, that shows that the chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine can cause a variety of health effects including cancer, brain/nervous system injury, injury to the liver and kidneys, birth defects, and reproductive disorders. Chemically induced cancers and permanent injury to organ systems are generally associated with continuous or habitual exposure to harmful chemicals over extended periods – years or a lifetime.

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