A suburban St. Louis couple bought a three-bedroom ranch house, only to find two years later that it was contaminated with enough methamphetamine residue to be condemned in more than a dozen states. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that under Missouri law, they were supposed to be told before they bought it that it was once a meth factory. But they weren’t – a common failure in Missouri and Illinois, the heart of America’s meth labs.
A Post-Dispatch investigation found that both states have failed to protect residents from moving into former meth labs that can lower property values, and, some experts believe, make people sick. The newspaper found that toxic residue from meth labs has lingered in area homes for as long as four years after busts. Residents have nowhere to find out easily whether a home was ever a meth lab, unlike in other states that publish lists of addresses and flag property records. One out of every five of the country’s more than 100,000 meth labs has been found in Missouri and Illinois, says the Drug Enforcement Administration. Police have found remnants of meth-making equipment and toxic byproducts inside homes, apartments and hotels, as well as dumped along roadways, in yards and cars.