Meth Lab Cleanup >> Environmental Effects Of Meth Labs

Meth Production MethodsThere are various methods for making meth in common practice in the U.S. today. Most Kentucky meth"cooks" use variations of the anhydrous ammonia method (also called the Birch Reduction method or"Nazi" method). Kentucky law Environmental Effects Of Meth Labs enforcement have also reported discovery of many Red P lab operationsusing red phosphorous. Other methods that are used include the P2P or Amalgam method (SeeAppendix A, Methamphetamine Manufacturing Processes and Common Manufacturing Chemicals).
The physical evidence gathered and observations made by law enforcement during their initial entry atthe scene, subsequent criminal Environmental Effects Of Meth Labs investigation, and gross waste removal is the best information that isavailable concerning the type of meth lab and possible chemicals that have been released into thestructure. This information shall be provided on the Clandestine Drug Lab Preliminary Assessment TierSelection Criteria, DEP 1016 January 2009.
 However, it should be noted that assessment ordecontamination of labs cannot necessarily be based solely on the method being used at Environmental Effects Of Meth Labs the time ofseizure. The meth cooks arrested may not know or be truthful about "cooks" done in the past. Physicalevidence at a lab may indicate only the most recent method used; therefore, all persons involved with aformer meth lab shall be aware of potential hazards created by each of the meth cooking methods.
Although they have been found in the western U.S., Kentucky law enforcement has not yet seen many ofthe "Super Labs" where Environmental Effects Of Meth Labs large volumes of meth are manufactured by several workers resulting in largevolumes of chemical wastes. See Section V.F for Tier 4 response. Seizure of a "Super Lab" or largecapacity lab or discovery of new cooking methods or chemicals should be brought to the attention ofKDWM immediately so agency staff can discuss whether this guidance is appropriate and sufficient forthe situation.
C. Meth Lab Chemical ContaminationCooking meth, regardless of method used, shall result in the release of ingredient chemicals, theprecursor drugs (pseudoephedrine or ephedrine), meth in vapor and Environmental Effects Of Meth Labs particle form, and other largelyunknown byproducts (See Appendix A). Airborne contaminants are absorbed into soft materialsincluding rugs, furniture, drapes, walls and other surfaces and may also contaminate the heating,ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system of the structure. Spills are common in meth labs, andmay impact floors, walls, appliances, and other surfaces.
 Chemicals used in the cooking, which may behazardous, may be dumped down the sinks, toilets or drains in the kitchen or bathrooms and leavecontamination in the waste water system.During active Environmental Effects Of Meth Labs meth cooking, law enforcement has found that levels of chemicals including iodine,phosphine, and hydrochloric acid used in several of the methods, could exceed current occupationalstandards and large amounts of meth are also released into the air and have been found at levels up to16,000 micrograms per 100 square centimeters on surfaces.
Chemicals may enter the body by being breathed, eaten, injected (by a contaminated needle oraccidental skin prick), or absorbed by the skin. Both acute (short term) and chronic (long term) healthhazards result from the manufacturing of meth. Acute exposure hazards come Environmental Effects Of Meth Labs from direct contact withproduct or waste, and inhalation of product or wastes. Burns, tissue irritation and rashes may result fromchemical spills and skin contact. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, and other health effects may result frominhalation of vapors.
After the cooking process has stopped, most of the known hazards decrease. Proper removal ofthe production wastes and bulk Environmental Effects Of Meth Labs chemicals eliminates many of the risks associated with meth labs.Spilled volatile chemicals and solvents such as ammonia, methanol, ether or acetone shall move into airand shall be readily removed from the structure by ventilation. Semi-volatile or non-volatile chemicals used in production such as acids, bases, precursor chemicals, and products used or created in themanufacturing processes are more persistent.Smoking meth indoors distributes meth throughout the structure and the structure’s contents.
 Handling meth, precursors, loading meth pipes or syringes, or packaging the drug for distribution may result inspills onto floors and Environmental Effects Of Meth Labs other surfaces.The risk of injury from chemical exposure depends on the chemical itself, the concentration, the quantity,and the length and route of exposure. Assessment of a lab site by the certified contractor shall includespecial attention to: Accessibility of residues and frequency of direct contact: The use of a contaminated area isan important factor in estimating frequency of contact.
 For example, residues in a kitchen orbathroom of a house may Environmental Effects Of Meth Labs be contacted more frequently than residues in a non-residentialoutbuilding. Characteristics of the inhabitants or users of the structure: For example, toddlers who crawlon carpet or floors have high frequency of skin contact with toxic residues over a considerablearea of skin. These residues may directly irritate the skin, and may also be absorbed into thebody through the skin.
 If hand to mouth behavior occurs when hands have been in contact withtoxic chemicals, these are ingested into the body. Hand to eye behavior introduces toxicmaterials to the eyes. Toddlers are at greatest risk for hand to mouth and hand to eye behaviors,but all people exhibit them.The toxicity of meth lab residue depends upon the amount of the residue, and the chemicals in theresidue. The amount of residue depends upon the size and type of meth lab, the length of time itoperated, Environmental Effects Of Meth Labsmethods of chemical storage and disposal, occurrence of chemical spills, as well as thephysical characteristics of the structure in which the meth lab occurred.
 The chemicals in the residuevary based on the method of meth cooking. Meth Risk Decisions and Cleanup Standards
The process of meth lab risk assessment is complicated by the fact that solid research information is notavailable regarding: impact on human health from exposures within a meth-contaminated Environmental Effects Of Meth Labs structure, absorption by skin or distribution of meth throughout the body, levels of meth in the air of former meth labs that may be harmful, an established safe level for meth in the environment.

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