Meth labs can be found anywhere. They have been discovered in rural areas, large cities, suburban neighborhoods, small towns, homes, apartments, hotels, restaurants – EVERYWHERE. Some labs are portable and can fit inside a backpack. Labs can be found in all socioeconomic areas. This is a problem of epic proportion and danger. When the chemicals used in manufacturing meth are combined, they can ignite, causing explosions, fires and the release of toxic fumes. The cooking and smoking process create poisonous gasses and hazardous by-products. These materials are dumped into standard plumbing systems or outdoors. The liquids that are disposed of in bathtubs, toilets, and sinks typically leave stains, and the harmful residue can remain for a very long time, even years! Vapors permeate plaster, wood and other porous items. The result of cooking meth and its toxic by-products can causes irreparable damage to the environment and drinking water, and can be extremely harmful to humans and animals. It is important to know how to spot a meth lab and to know what to do if you suspect you have encountered one.
What to look for:
- Unusual, strong odors (like ammonia, ether, acetone or other chemicals).
- Windows blacked out or covered by aluminum foil, plywood, sheets, blankets, etc.
- Unusual behavior of tenants often denying access to the dwelling. Renters who pay their landlords in cash. (Most drug dealers trade exclusively in cash.)
- Lots of traffic - people coming and going at unusual times especially at night.
- Excessive trash including large amounts of antifreeze containers, lantern fuel cans, Heet (gas line antifreeze) containers, red or rust stained coffee filters, drain cleaner, blister-packs from cold medicines, match books, lithium batteries, empty salt containers, microwave ovens, camp stoves, and duct tape.
- Glass containers, i.e., mason jars, lab beakers, etc.
- Propane tanks with corroded valves
- Secretive / protective area surrounding the residence (video cameras, alarm systems, guard dogs, reinforced doors, electrified fencing).
- Persons exiting the structure to smoke
Common items used in manufacturing meth:
- Anhydrous ammonia commonly stored in propane tanks (corroded or blue / green tinged valves)
- Red phosphorous
- Over-the-counter cold medicines such as Sudafed in the blister packs
- Lithium batteries, match books, camp fuel, Heet
- Rock salt, iodine, peroxide, alcohol (there are over 160 chemicals that can be used in the manufacturing process)
- Coffee filters, funnels, plastic tubing, mason jars
- Camp stoves, microwaves
What to do if you suspect a meth lab:
Call Crystal Clean Decontamination™ LLC. at 303-884-5489. We can advise you on what to do next.
- Call law enforcement immediately - 911
- Do not attempt to handle the situation or alert the suspects of your suspicions.
- Do not enter the property or touch anything associated with a lab. Breathing the fumes or handing items associated with a meth production lab can be harmful and even cause death. Drug labs should be entered only by trained professionals with the proper protective equipment including suits, boots, gloves and respirators.