The first national rise in meth lab seizures since 2003 is pointing attention to the problem of meth contamination, which can permeate drywall, carpets, insulation and air ducts, causing respiratory ailments and other health problems, reports the New York Times. There are tens of thousands of contaminated residences. The victims include low-income elderly people whose homes are used by relatives or in-laws to make meth, and landlords whose tenants leave them with toxic messes.
The high cost of cleaning – $5,000 to $100,000, depending on the size of the home, the legal requirements and the degree of contamination – has left hundreds of properties vacant and quarantined, particularly in Western and Southern states. “The meth lab home problem is only going to grow,” said Dawn Turner, who started a Web site, www.methlabhomes.com, after her son lost thousands of dollars when he bought a foreclosed home in Tennessee that turned out to be contaminated.