Illegal clandestine drug labs may pose a health threat to unsuspecting home buyers or renters. Typically, these labs have been used to manufacture methamphetamine, commonly referred to as meth, speed or crank. After an illegal meth lab is discovered by law enforcement officials, the bulk of lab-related materials, including chemicals and containers, is usually removed. However, small amounts of contaminants may have been left behind on floors, walls, counters, carpets, furniture, sinks, drains and ventilation systems. Meth lab contaminants may pose health threats to persons exposed to them.
Currently there is no official federal guidance, or regulations, on how to clean up a former meth lab. Idaho Legislators realized the danger meth labs pose and passed a law (Senate Bill 1122) that gave IDHW the authority and responsibility to develop and maintain a program that lists properties that were used as clandestine drug labs. The rules (IDAPA16.02.24 [PDF]) were approved by the Legislature and became effective on April 11, 2006. The rules were revised during the 2009 Legislative Session. As of this date, properties reported as clandestine drug labs will be added to the Clandestine Drug Laboratory Site Property List [PDF]. Methamphetamine clandestine drug laboratories can be located in motels; and in residential areas, including houses, apartments and garages. Mobile labs have also been found in vehicles and discarded along roadsides or parking lots.
Meth labs often have an unusually sweet or strong odor such as ether, ammonia or auto parts cleaner. The windows of buildings are often covered, blacked out or frosted. Common signs of meth labs are sporadic traffic throughout the day and night, trash containing large amounts of empty anti-freeze containers, camping fuel cans, battery parts, stained coffee filters, drain cleaners and glassware.
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (IDHW) has put together guidance to assist local agencies, property owners, contractors and the general public in addressing contamination at former meth labs (Guidelines for Cleaning up Former Methamphetamine Labs). For more information about Idaho's Clandestine Drug Lab Cleanup Program, please contact the Idaho Indoor Environment Program at 1-800-445-8647 or email@example.com.