October 9, 2012

Clandestine Labs

Contact our Office at (316) 942-6323


What is a clandestine lab?

The term clandestine lab is generally used in any situation involving the production of illicit compounds (such as methamphetamine), regardless of whether the facilities being used qualify as a true laboratory.  The production of methamphetamine is not a new or recent activity.  In fact, amphetamine was first developed in Germany in 1887 and then methamphetamine was produced in Japan in 1919!

For an extensive history and background on meth, go to History Channel, History of Meth.

What is the impact of a clandestine lab on a property?

Meth labs can be set-up virtually anywhere: apartments, hotels, low-income housing, million-dollar homes, and even vehicles.  The cooking process of meth inside a building can leave burns, chemical damage, various stains, and has the potential to off-gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  In some instances, drug paraphernalia, hazardous materials and debris, containers, etc. are left behind.

We suspect that a meth lab was once operating in our property – what can you do to help us?

AMEI can help by providing a thorough inspection of the property to determine whether or not clandestine lab activities have taken place, and submit a comprehensive, written report of the findings, including recommendations and remediation (clean up) protocols.  The inspection may involve a variety of sampling protocols to identify if meth, or its components, is present.

Please note that various cities and counties within the state of Kansas are beginning to implement specific ordinances regarding properties where clandestine labs have been discovered.  Some are utilizing the Colorado regulations as a guideline for dealing with properties impacted by clandestine lab activities.  Some ordinances may be more stringent; some cities may also have their own specific ordinances regarding testing, cleanup, acceptable levels, and even disposal of contaminated building materials.
Below are some helpful links:

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, Methamphetamine labs cleanup regulations and statute:
Colorado Meth Lab Regs

Kansas Department of Health & Environment, Kansas Clandestine Drug Lab Information:
KDHE Meth Labs

Environmental Protection Agency, Voluntary Guidelines for Methamphetamine Laboratory Cleanup:
EPA Emergency Response Voluntary Guidelines for Meth Lab Cleanup

There is no visible evidence of clandestine lab activity, but is there the potential for drug residue on surfaces?

Over the past several years, the consultants at AMEI have examined several properties where there was no evidence of any actual “old school” Lab (manufacturing) activity, but it was suspect by other parties/individuals that methamphetamine may have been used by the occupant(s). So assessments were requested and examinations have been performed.

In most of these situations, levels of meth residue well above 1.5ug/100cm2 have been identified on interior building materials including, but not limited to, sheetrock ceilings & walls, wood cabinetry, countertops, stoves, vent hoods, bathroom exhaust fans, whole-house exhaust fans, sinks, bathtubs, HVAC units, ductwork, etc. Based upon our visual observations and the lab results, there does appear to be an increasing trend in properties contaminated by the usage of methamphetamine.


Leave a Reply