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Is Meth Lab Training on the Horizon


hausdok
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The longer the meth epidemic goes on, the more buildings there are going to be that are put on the market with methamphetamine residue in them. This article is an example of the heartbreak that comes when one unknowingly buys a meth-contaminated house.

Unlike alleged toxic mold, which is only really "toxic" to a minuscule percentage of the population, the chemicals used to produce meth are toxic to virtually everyone; yet it's stories of "toxic mold" that are constantly in the news while stories about meth labs usually end up on the back page.

Home inspectors are supposed to be specialists at defect recognition and are generally expected to spot the tip of issue icebergs and warn their clients about those hazards. Should be now begin educating ourselves on how to spot traces of meth in order to limit our own liability and protect our clients?

What say you?

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Originally posted by hausdok

The longer the meth epidemic goes on, the more buildings there are going to be that are put on the market with methamphetamine residue in them. This article is an example of the heartbreak that comes when one unknowingly buys a meth-contaminated house.

Unlike alleged toxic mold, which is only really "toxic" to a minuscule percentage of the population, the chemicals used to produce meth are toxic to virtually everyone; yet it's stories of "toxic mold" that are constantly in the news while stories about meth labs usually end up on the back page.

Home inspectors are supposed to be specialists at defect recognition and are generally expected to spot the tip of issue icebergs and warn their clients about those hazards. Should be now begin educating ourselves on how to spot traces of meth in order to limit our own liability and protect our clients?

What say you?

There are several things I just won't do, and dink around in a meth lab is one of them.

Let 'em hire Larry, Darryl and Darryl or that guy from Dirty Jobs.

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Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Walter,

I certainly agree about "dinking" around in meth labs. However, how does one even know that one is in a meth lab, and knows enough to get the hell out of there, without some kind of training?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Good question, and I bet you already know the answer: If an HI is going to entertain the notion of going in meth houses, he needs some training from meth-savvy local cops.

Speaking just for myself: at age 25 I announced to my bandmates that I would no longer enter buildings where people puke in the toilets. Now, at age 55, I'm surely not going to enter a building where people burn their faces off while trying to cook dope.

Finally, and politically incorrectly, I'd hope an HI would have the intuition to know when he's in the methy part of town/country, and he ought to just get out of there. I just don't see an upside for HIs working in meth houses. There's got to be better work...

Asking myself, "how much would I pay to not go into a meth house",

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Training is needed. It can't be training to work in a meth house, just training to recognize the "signs" and get outa Dodge!

I have worked several files regarding meth houses. Couple files where the question was "Is this a meth house?" Home inspectors have no business trying to make this determination. I think any inspector that thinks there may be a problem must make the referral to an accredited lab and law enforcement. Our own Irish Colorado Cop/radon guru* has written much on the subject.

*Caoimhin P. Connell

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Hi Les,

So, maybe, if TIJ (me and whoever else I can get to help) ever gets around to putting on a home inspector's conference, the subject of how to recognize the residual clues of illegal drug activity could be one of the subjects taught - perhaps by a presenter such as Caoimhin?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Correct! Also, there are DEA funds available for such activity. I understand the best route for funding is through your US Senator(s).

I often give opinions for the local officials regarding the quickie things to look for; plumbing, heating, utility bills, distressed vegetation, etc. Ain't scientific, but rather practical. I do NOT hold myself out as an expert, but do understand buildings and am long of tooth.

I really think most inspectors should not get into identification in depth, rather a primer. Good inspectors have their hands full right now!

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Originally posted by SonOfSwamp

Good question, and I bet you already know the answer: If an HI is going to entertain the notion of going in meth houses, he needs some training from meth-savvy local cops.

Speaking just for myself: at age 25 I announced to my bandmates that I would no longer enter buildings where people puke in the toilets. Now, at age 55, I'm surely not going to enter a building where people burn their faces off while trying to cook dope.

Finally, and politically incorrectly, I'd hope an HI would have the intuition to know when he's in the methy part of town/country, and he ought to just get out of there. I just don't see an upside for HIs working in meth houses. There's got to be better work...

Asking myself, "how much would I pay to not go into a meth house",

WJid="blue">

With all due respect to Walter, it's not so simple these days to identify "methy" parts of town. Labs have steadily gotten smaller...and moved into more upscale areas at the same time. In nicer areas, rental homes are more suspect, but not the only potential meth labs.

I think education for HI's to identify some basic and common signs of meth cooking activity is a damned good idea. Our state org put on a CE class on this a couple years ago. The fact is that you can subject yourself to some really nasty stuff if you don't recognize what you're walking into.

The "good" news? A lot of domestic meth labs have been shut down. Unfortunately, that opened up a market opportunity and there are Mexican "superlabs" that are producing a lot of the stuff.

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This is a email from the president of our local ASHI chapter about the Meth he found.

I have adopted a strip of ground beside our street leading into the subdivision from highway 31. When I get tired of seeing the discarded trash I will take a few minutes and go clean it up. I imagine folks driving into the neighborhood as a first impression will say "what a trashy neighborhood". On Thursday around 3:00PM I was doing my clean-up routine and discovered a trash bag that was laying at the edge of the woods (had not been there long) and decided to open it up in the chance there might be some envelopes or something identifying where it came from. Well....the chemical smell hit me and almost knocked me down. Upon further digging I found a liter pop bottle with some crusty looking brown substance inside.

I called the Hartselle police and they sent out a patrol officer. I met him at the site. He started pulling out various bags that contained rock salt, straws, lithium from batteries and other unidentifiable contents and he said it was a full blown "shake and bake" meth lab. He advised me to stand back away from the area as the bag contents were still fresh and could burn or explode at any time. I heeded his advice. Soon another patrol officer showed up and they called the Morgan County Hazardous Response Unit which is a large truck with various hazardous investigative equipment inside. They started taking photos of the bag contents then they declared the area a hazardous waste dump and called a hazardous waste clean-up unit to come out. At about 6:30PM this clean-up crew arrived and secured the area. At about 7:00PM all of the units were pulling out and leaving the scene.

This is a nice and quiet neighborhood and during the time that the authorities were on scene, residents were coming home from work or where ever and slowing down to take a look with confused expressions on their faces. A couple of neighbors actually stopped to talk with me and were shocked to find out what it was all about. I personally hoped that whoever dumped this stuff happened to drive in and see what was going on and be encouraged to dump their crap somewhere else. I frequently see children riding bikes and scooters along the street and can imagine their curiosity finding them digging in such a bag of contents and getting poisoned or burned. I feel like my vigilance may have prevented this.

I don't care what people do with their own lives but they can dump this stuff elsewhere for all I care and we won't have to worry about it in our part neighborhood. There is no way of knowing whether this meth lab came from our neighborhood or they are coming from another area and dumping it but it just goes to show you that no place is immune from this activity.

Just thought you guys might be interested to hear my story.

Wes Carlisle

CARLISLE HOME INSPECTIONS

400 CRESCENT DR SW

HARTSELLE, AL 35640

I know I could stand some more traing on it.

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When you find that you have idiots cooking meth in the attic you will smell odors ranging from cat pee to a strong musty odor coming from the vents or through the sheet rock. If you ever wake up and think you see shiny powder coming from the ceiling, you do. It is not the fairy god mother. That would be white phosphorus from cooking meth and it is highly toxic. Chemicals like that can penetrate sheet rock and everything else. There may be orange stains on your porch and driveway and any concrete around your house. That blows out of the soffet. If every night you hear the same sounds in your attic you might have illegals waiting until you go to sleep to cook. They are extremely sneaky and when doing meth they don't move around much. I have smelled it in Walmart, Arby's, the hospital, doctors office to name a few. It is everywhere and if you smell something that you can't identify it is probably meth cooking. It is sickening. I will be glad when people figure this out so something can be done. All you do is research meth on the net. Cutting roof hatches (trap doors in your roof) is the thing now. All of the meth is not coming from Mexico it is being cooked in attics right here.

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