The Herald Bulletin

Overnight Update

Opinion

June 7, 2014

Viewpoint: Cleaning meth lab site can cause health problems from exposure

Earlier this week an Indiana media outlet published an article that suggested it is OK for Hoosiers to wash the surfaces in a dwelling to remove meth residue or paint over meth residue to make a dwelling safe to occupy again. Since the article ran, IDEM has received multiple calls from property owners and qualified inspectors asking for correct information.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) wants to make certain that Hoosiers understand to never try to clean up a meth lab on their own or use paint to cover meth residue. It can be detrimental to your health.

The law requires dwellings, vehicles or watercraft, where a meth lab was present, to be professionally tested by a qualified inspector for illegal drug lab cleanups (http://www.in.gov/idem/4184.htm) to determine the amount of meth contamination present. Entering a property without first assessing the levels of contamination may interfere with the validity of the testing, complicate the cleanup, or seriously jeopardize your health.

Once results of the test are received the cleanup plan can be determined. The level of meth contamination determines the complexity and cost of the cleanup. The cleanup must occur under the supervision of a certified meth lab cleanup inspector. Final testing is required after the cleanup to verify levels are safe and the dwelling may be reoccupied. Once the property has been cleared, the certified inspector will file a Qualified Inspectors Certificate of Illegal Drug Lab Cleanup with the owner, the Indiana Department of Health, the IDEM, and the local county health department.

Hoosiers can find detailed, accurate information from IDEM’s website regarding the inspection and cleanup of illegal drug labs at http://www.in.gov/idem/4178.htm. The statutes, rules and cleanup methods put in place are to protect the health of Hoosiers and not intended to be an undue burden. Cases have been reported of adults and children who have suffered severe health effects due to exposure to meth residue on surfaces in a dwelling that was never properly tested and cleaned. Meth residue is usually undetectable to the human eye, making it impossible to determine the seriousness of the exposure without a test.

Barry Sneed is public information officer for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Editor’s note: The Associated Press article referenced was published on The Herald Bulletin’s website May 29 but has since been removed.

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