The Dangerous Afterlife of Meth Lab Homes

Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Meth lab, Scottsdale, Arizona

When buying a home, it might not be a bad idea to ask, in addition to how the plumbing and foundation are, whether anyone ever cooked methamphetamine inside it. Living inside a former meth house can cause serious and debilitating health problems, from respiratory ailments to migraines to long-term learning disabilities for young children exposed to harmful chemicals.

The problem is a growing concern as millions of foreclosed homes become available. Even though some states require disclosure of a house’s history at the time of sale, learning all the relevant facts of who did what in a foreclosed home can be difficult.
Most state laws leave the new homeowner responsible for cleaning up contamination that can cause serious health problems. Unfortunately, most states don’t provide any assistance to new home buyers if it turns out their American dream once served as a meth factory. Only Colorado currently offers financial assistance with cleaning up the carpets, drywall, insulation and air ducts that may contain leftover chemical residues. The cost of decontaminating a home can range from $5,000 to $100,000.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Illnesses Afflict Homes With a Criminal Past (by Shaila Dewan and Robbie Brown, New York Times)


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