Homeowner Safety Compromised by Meth Lab Contamination

Posted on October 5, 2012

Savvy consumers take a number of necessary precautions before moving into a home that has been previously owned.  A variety of inspections must be carried out to ensure that a given residence is going to be safe.  However, there is one threat that might be hard to detect, and in turn, families all across the country could be in danger without even knowing it.  That threat stems from the prevalence of houses across the country that used to be meth labs.

A family in Klamath Falls, Oregon, understands far too well how a previously unidentified threat can quickly make itself known.  The family of three moved into their new house and quickly began to experience adverse health conditions, including things like respiratory difficulty, nose bleeds, severe headaches, and even mouth sores incurred by their young son.

A $50 testing kit and the word of a neighbor revealed the house’s unsavory past as a laboratory where the residents used to cook meth.  The house was contaminated by chemicals at a level that was 80 times higher than what is allowed by the Oregon Health Authority.

This is hardly a standalone case.  A member of an organization called Meth Lab Cleanup says that upwards of 2.5 million houses have been contaminated by meth.  What’s more, it can be extremely difficult to determine whether a house was used as a lab.  Although consumers are usually warned that it’s their responsibility to look for asbestos and lead paint risks in foreclosed homes, they don’t always receive the same warning in regards to drug contamination.  That’s because only about 10% of labs are ever busted, and even those that are can easily be lost in the bureaucratic shuffle.

Even more disappointing is the fact that not all states require sellers to tell potential buyers that the residence was used as a drug lab.  In fact, 27 states don’t have such a law in the books, meaning that millions of people could find themselves coming into contact with residue left behind by dangerous chemicals without even knowing it.

Still, there is hope.  Consumers can take things into their own hands to ensure they’re not going to be endangered by an undiscovered lab.  Anyone purchasing a foreclosed home should speak with neighbors and the local authorities to determine if the address has a shady history.  The DEA also keeps a registry of clandestine labs that can be consulted.  Finally, when all else fails, buy a kit to check up on chemical levels in the home.

Protect yourself and your family by ensuring your home’s past has not been sullied by a meth lab.

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