In some parts of the country, it seems like you hear about police finding a meth lab at least once every couple of weeks. Have you ever wondered what happens to these properties after law enforcement makes the discovery? Discover what it’s like to clean up a former meth lab.
Seizure of Chemicals
The first thing that happens when police discover a meth lab in a home or apartment is removal of the drugs themselves. They’ll also document the crime scene, identify what chemicals the drug manufacturers were using, and possibly remove tools and lab equipment. However, that still leaves a lot of work left to do.
Deep Clean the Lab
Many police departments don’t have the special training or tools to fully clean out a meth lab, so they’ll let contractors do the rest. The contractors will generally remove all furniture and dispose of any remaining chemicals. They’ll also rip out the flooring so they can deep clean the residence more easily.
Deep cleaning is a laborious process. First, the contractors will completely soak each room in water, followed by chemical soap, which they use to scrub the ceiling, walls, floors, and permanent fixtures like bathtubs and countertops. In order to protect their skin, eyes, nose, and mouth, they’ll wear at least level C HAZMAT suits, which are among the four HAZMAT suit levels.
Why the Extreme Measures?
Methamphetamine production uses a variety of hazardous materials as ingredients. They are highly flammable, corrosive, and reactive with other chemicals. They also leave behind residue on surfaces that can cause health problems for years to come if not removed. Some of the effects of exposure to meth lab contaminants include:
- Trouble breathing
- Skin/eye irritation
- Chemical burns
Air Out the Property
Once the contractors have scrubbed the property to remove chemical residues, they will install dehumidifiers and fans to air out the property. This is necessary to remove the fumes both the original chemicals and the added soap cleaners leave behind.
Now that you know what it’s like to clean up a former meth lab, you may be wondering what happens to the property next. If the property has gone through these steps, as opposed to something more extreme like complete demolition, then it means there’s a possibility that people could again live there. However, it’s still a good idea for the property owner to hire additional cleaning services and repaint all surfaces as an additional barrier for any lingering residue.