Buying a Home that Used to be a Meth Lab is Like Living in a Toxic Waste Dump

Illegal production of methamphetamine in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. The Office of National Drug Control Policy estimates the economic cost to society of meth use in this country between $16.2 billion and $48.3 billion annually.

What happens to the homes that were used to create math once law enforcements shuts down the operation? Lethal chemicals seep into the walls of these homes, leaching out over time, exposing new residents to all the toxins. Meth Lab Cleanup, a national training and abatement company, estimates there are currently 2.5 million meth-contaminated homes in the United States. For every 10 homes used for meth production, experts say, authorities uncover just one.

Many of these homes are sold at deep discounts. And in many states, realtors aren’t required to disclose to potential buyers that the home they are about to purchase once housed an illegal meth lab and is loaded with toxins. Chemical residue from production of the drug seeps into the walls and insulation. That great “fixer-upper” just may be hiding all kinds of deadly chemicals that could make you and your family extremely sick.

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So how do you find out if the house you want to call home was once the location of meth lab?

  • Visit the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Clandestine Laboratory Register. This list contains the addresses for all homes discovered by law enforcement that contained meth labs. The searchable database has addresses arranged by state and city.
  • Talk to the neighbors in the area and find out what kind of history the property has.
  • Visit the local police department and inquire about any arrests or issues involving the property.
  • Buy a test kit for the property. The cost to clean a former meth house runs anywhere from $5,000 to $150,000. The test kit to determine if there are dangerous chemicals from its production costs about $50.

Emergency Film Group’s Response to Illicit Drug Labs DVD provides training for emergency personnel who may encounter a clandestine drug lab during routine calls or who may be involved in taking down a lab. An ideal resource for law enforcement, hazmat teams, EMS and other emergency personnel.

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