March 01, 2009
From the "As if you didn't have enough things to worry about" department

Your house may have once been a meth lab.

Experts say meth contamination of apartments, hotel rooms, houses, storage sheds and even cars is more common than people may imagine. Meth-making or heavy use can leave chemicals in carpets, air ducts and attics. And without proper cleanup, experts say, the chemicals linger and expose people to health risks.

"We get calls once a week from people who are the innocent victims - who have nothing to do with drugs or dope," said Kirk Flippin, owner of Texas Decon, a New Braunfels company that tests for meth labs and does cleanups.

Although Texas home sellers are required by law to disclose knowledge of a house being used as a meth lab, experts said the law is not strong enough to protect buyers.

Flippin said Texas needs laws requiring complete disclosure of places contaminated by the manufacture of meth or heavy use. Experts said Texas also needs clearer guidelines on cleanup.

House Bill 23, introduced this session by state Rep. David Leibowitz, D-San Antonio, would require landlords to disclose previous use of leased premises for manufacture of methamphetamine.

You can read the particulars of that story here. You can say, as the realtor in this case did, that the house in question was sold in good faith. I'm thinking, however, that when the previous owner is in jail for, among other things, possession with intent to deliver meth, it might have been a better idea to err on the side of more disclosure. I'm just saying.

And before those of you who've been in the same house for awhile get too complacent, consider this.

Illegal methamphetamine "cooks" are traipsing undetected through an unknown number of motels and hotels with covert drug-making labs - leaving a toxic mess behind for unsuspecting customers and housekeeping crews.

They are places where drug-makers can go unnoticed, mixing the chemicals needed for the highly addictive stimulant in a matter of hours before slipping out the next morning. The dangerous contaminants can lurk on countertops, carpets and bathtubs, and the sickening smells produced can be masked by tobacco smoke and other scents.

Motels can be an attractive alternative for drug makers seeking to avoid a police bust in their own homes.

"They can seize the trailer or seize your house but they can't seize a motel room," said Dr. Sullivan Smith, director of emergency services at Cookeville Regional Medical Center in north-central Tennessee.

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration records obtained by The Associated Press show that states reported finding drug-making in 1,789 motel and hotel rooms in the past five years - and that's just what authorities found.

Some days, the life of a hermit seems more and more attractive.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 01, 2009 to Society and cultcha
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