So, Congratulations! You just bought your first dream home for you and your family. Living the American dream of raising a family in the suburbs in a beautiful home. But what if this home, as perfect as it seems , isn’t what you thought? What if it had a dark past, with some shady people living in it. Next thing you know, your wife or husband starts feeling ill. The baby starts getting skin rashes. What in this home is causing the silent problems? There is no mold present. The house is relatively clean. The invisible antagonist in this scenario is what you would least suspect it to be: Meth.
The problem this fictional house has was that at one point in time, previous tenants at this house operated a Methamphetamine Laboratory, or Meth Lab. Although they are long gone, and the home has no visible remnants of this illegal operation, all of the walls, floors and ceilings of the home are masked in the by-product of ‘cooking’ meth. The residue of the chemicals used are still lingering on all the surfaces, and can make you sick.
Sounds like a one-in-a-million problem? It’s more common than you think.
According to the DEA, from 2010 to 2014, over 63,000 meth labs were discovered in the US alone, and that’s just the ones that were seized or discovered.
The residue of Meth can be found in homes, structures, apartments or anywhere you can live. It’s produced as a byproduct of making meth, in any quantity, or even by a user smoking meth inside a room. Methamphetamine is a crystal, and when it gets vaporized (via smoking or cooking), the vapor clings to surfaces and it reforms into microscopic crystals. Anyone who comes into contact with these contaminated surfaces, and then touch their eyes, mouth, nose or any other orifice can become ill, especially babies and infants, which often crawl around and come into contact with surfaces more often. Not to mention that smaller dosages affect them more significantly. This type of contact is often referred to as ‘Third Hand Meth Exposure’.
Some of the side effects for coming into contact with Third Hand meth exposure are loss of appetite, spaciness, itchy skin, dry eyes, irritability, paranoia, difficulty breathing, sinus problems, headaches, nervousness, anxiety, acne and confusion. In more extreme cases, like with larger concentrations of meth crystals, convulsions and death of pets are possible. Such contact with Third Hand meth may even trigger positive results for Meth use on some drug tests, if the concentration is high enough.
So the question is, if it’s invisible and odorless, how do you protect your family before putting their health into jeopardy?
If you suspect that a property you live in, or are planning to live in, might have a history of Methamphetamine being cooked or smoked in it, a simple way to test the home lies in Methamphetamine tester kits.
Meth tester kits are a fairly inexpensive chemical testing strip, that when Methamphetamine comes into contact with the chemical strip, it will change colors. The colors have different ranges, and will visibly show the concentration of the Methamphetamine chemical after swabbing various locations in the house. It is best to test various rooms, walls, ceilings and floors, in the case that Meth is present in one closed off room in a house. Not all meth positive houses will be contaminated all over. Sometimes Meth users smoked meth confined to a single bedroom or bathroom, so it is best to test as much of the house as you can with multiple strips for each location in the house.
If your home tested positive for Methamphetamine, professional services are required to properly eradicate all Meth residue and crystals from all the surfaces in the home. Companies, like the National Crime Scene Cleanup Association, have the proper staff, knowledge and equipment to properly disinfect and clean all surfaces of a Meth contaminated home, thereby eliminating the risk to you, your family, guests, and pets.
Meth poses a problem for not just the US government, but to you as a homeowner. Take precautions when you believe a property may have had Meth present in the past, and know that if it does, there are ways to detect and make the property safe again. No illegal drug should ever get in the way of the American dream of owning a home and raising a happy, healthy family!