The dangers and risks associated with cooking methamphetamine are very serious for everyone not just the individual(s) that produces the illegal drugs. Just breathing in the gasses and fumes when meth is cooked can cause extremely serious respiratory problems for anyone exposed to the toxic chemical vapors.
Anyone living in the surrounding area of a meth lab is at risk because of possible fires and chemical explosions which have occurred many times. Some of toxic substances used to produce meth are highly explosive. If they're improperly stored or mixed with other dangerous chemicals they can ignite or explode which also sends dangerous toxic vapors into the environment.
Even though important ingredients like pseudoephedrine aren't as easy to get today due to prescription drug monitoring systems, illegal meth labs continue to be a problem in many areas throughout the United States. Meth is cheap and even though it's dangerous to make, it's relatively easy and there's a wide spread demand for the illegal stimulant drug today.
Dangerous and Hazardous Chemicals Used in Meth Production
Toxic Chemicals are used when producing meth and each ingredient comes with its own set of hazards and risks.
- Pseudoephedrine when ingested in high doses is very serious and if a child living in the residence or anyone else swallows more than a recommended dose they risk serious health consequences. A large dose such as 600 milligrams can cause seizures and kidney failure.
- Acetone/Ethyl Alcohol is not only flammable but when inhaled or consumed can cause a person to become unconscious or comatose. Freon when inhaled can cause lung damage and a sudden heart attack.
- Anhydrous Ammonia has a very strong powerful smell and breathing in the vapors can cause serious damage to the mucous membranes and eyes. A person's respiratory tract can swell when breathing in the vapors and cause suffocation because they're unable to breathe.
- Red Phosphorus is very dangerous and can explode very easily and if for any reason the chemical ignites it can affect your eyes, nasal passages, throat, and lungs. Sometimes hypophosphorous acid is used instead of red phosphorus and if it gets too hot it can cause a fire or explosion.
- Lithium Metal is another chemical that's very dangerous to the body and if it comes into contact with water can cause a fire or explosion.
- Hydriodic Acid is a chemical that's exceptionally dangerous and used to manufacture meth and when breathed in affects the respiratory system, as well as the eyes and skin. If a child or adult swallow's hydriodic acid it can cause serious internal damage that can possibly lead to death.
- The vapors from Iodine Crystals can affect the respiratory system and a person's eyes and if swallowed can cause serious damage internally.
Former Meth Lab Dwellings
If you're thinking about moving into a home or apartment today, your ability to make the rent or mortgage payment isn't the only thing you need to take into consideration if the property had previous tenants living there. You never know for sure if the dwelling had previously been used as a meth lab and still contains dangerous chemicals that can potentially make you sick. This has happened to many people in the past and sadly will only continue.
Chemicals used in the production of meth get into the carpets, air ducts and other areas of the dwelling and can linger for a long time, even years. Chemical spills can seep into the carpeting, flooring and walls posing long term health risks to tenants for a long period of time. Many people produce meth in their homes and eventually move without anyone ever knowing they were cooking the highly addictive and dangerous drug.
Recently foxnews.com referred to a family that knows only too well the health dangers involved with living in a residence that was once used as a meth lab to produce illegal methamphetamine drugs. The whole family experienced unexplained health problems for quite some time before they found out what was causing their illnesses, not to mention the outrageous cost they incurred getting rid of the toxic contaminated waste.
The nytimes.com talks about another family that had their lives turned upside down due to health problems and unbelievable financial costs incurred because of prior meth production that took place in their home before they moved in.
One might think that you would only have to worry about buying or renting homes, apartments, or trailers that are located in rundown communities but that's not true. Meth labs are run by people from all economic backgrounds, not just in the poorer communities. People have also been known to make meth while staying in hotels, so there's really no where that's safe today unfortunately.
The illegal production of meth varies from state to state and is more widespread in some areas than others. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provides maps showing the prevalence of meth related production throughout the U.S. As you can see, some states are much more problematic than others when it comes to meth labs and the production of this dangerous illegal stimulant drug. The DEA also provides a National Clandestine Laboratory Register that's much more informative pertaining to some specific locations of meth labs and dumpsites that have been reported but not verified.
Unfortunately if a meth lab was never seized, you would have no way of knowing if prior meth production ever took place in a home, apartment, hotel, garage or secluded empty building. Do your part, if you suspect there's a possible meth lab in your area or anywhere else, don't just turn your head and ignore your suspicions. Down the road an innocent person could move into that home like the families we read about above and it could even be someone you love and care about. Helpful information for recognizing illegal meth lab production on the outside of a dwelling or structure is provided by Illinois Attorney General and justice.gov.