So You Want to Buy a Former Meth Lab!: Meth-Testing Houses the New Big Thing

There are lots of important things to consider when choosing an apartment, house or trailer: commute time, distance to retail centers, public schools -- but perhaps the most important thing of all is, "How do I get rid of that stagnant meth-lab odor?"

Well, thanks to companies like USA Decon, you too can make sure your new abode is suitably free of residues left behind by any former occupants who engaged in the fine art of meth manufacturing. Had we known this sorta thing existed years ago, we never would've agreed to live in that one trailer in the desert for six months. Here are some things USA Decon's CEO, John DiGulio, told us in an e-mail about former meth lab cleanin':

Waste byproducts: "The danger of chemical fires and explosions extends beyond methamphetamine manufacture. After producing the finished methamphetamine, clandestine lab workers are typically left with 5-6 pounds of hazardous waste for each pound of finished methamphetamine produce."

Active labs: "Dangers of fire and explosion comprise the greatest risk, due to the large amounts of solvents normally found at these sites. Another potential risk of toxic exposure occurs as a result of the 'cook' setting 'booby traps.'"

Former labs: "...there are possible risks of exposure to infectious agents (e.g., HIV, hepatitis B) in the event of skin puncture by drug paraphernalia."

Memories: "Another project that sticks out is the surfer who was cooking meth in his apartment. While cooking and using meth all night...he was playing online computer games. The police caught on and began to watch. They waited until he had a guest and then raided the unit. They found a pregnant woman smoking meth with him and closed down his operation....The readings in this apartment before remediation were some of the largest we've seen."

Surfer, meth-cooker, gamer -- was there anything this dude couldn't do?

Well, we feel like we know a little bit more about what to look for when it comes to moving into a former meth lab. But just to be on the safe side, we're going to stick with crack houses.

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Contributor Craig Malisow covers crooks, quacks, animal abusers, elected officials, and other assorted people for the Houston Press.
Contact: Craig Malisow