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Guidelines for Cleaning Up Former Methamphetamine Labs

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2000
5 pages
This document provides cleanup guidelines for methamphetamine labs in Missouri.
These basic guidelines are designed to assist property owners and the general public in cleaning up former meth lab properties. In cleaning a former meth property, it must first be determined if the property was used for meth production. The property must then be aired out before and during cleanup. All unnecessary items should be removed and disposed of. Visibly contaminated items or items that have an odor should be removed. All surfaces should be cleaned using household cleaning methods and proper personal protection. The ventilation system must be cleaned. The plumbing cleanup should be left to the experts. The property must be aired out for 3 to 5 days. If odor or staining remains, the home must be evaluated by a professional. Currently, there is no comprehensive method for tracking or listing properties that were used as meth labs. Properties used to produce meth will usually be found with a lab-like setting. A lab is typically discovered by law enforcement and the bulk of any lab-related debris is removed. If, after cleaning up a residence using these guidelines, a property owner is concerned about any remaining contamination, or if the property still has an odor, visible staining, or causes physical irritation to those exposed, it is advisable to have the property evaluated and tested. Many of the contaminants present during meth’s cooking process can be harmful if someone is exposed to them. These contaminants can cause health problems including respiratory problems, skin and eye irritation, headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Acute (short-term) exposures to high concentrations of some of these chemicals can cause severe health problems including lung damage and burns to different parts of the body. There is little known about the health effects from chronic (long-term) exposure to contaminants left behind after a meth lab is dismantled. Until the contaminants have been identified, property owners must exercise caution and use the safest possible cleaning practices in dealing with a former meth lab property and any possible remaining contamination.