A generalized cleaning will not remove the toxic waste and chemical residue of Meth production. Do not try to clean it yourself! Even law enforcement and other first responders face health risks when they enter a lab before it is cleaned or ventilated, unless they are protected by Haz-Mat gear. If not properly decontaminated, anyone who moves into a former lab site will be exposed to all the health dangers associated with Meth, as mentioned in part 1 of this series.
There are five major methods of an indoor meth lab cleanup. The method used will depend on the what chemicals are found, the processes used, and how long the lab was active. It is possible in rare cases, that the building be demolished in order to clean up the contaminates. Most situations, though, will require a combination of the following recommended measures.
Ventilation: When solvents and other chemicals that may have soaked into the walls are slowly vaporizing indoors, ventilation may reduce contamination and decrease odors.
Removal: Furnishings, draperies, carpeting, paneling, wallpaper, and other porous items that evaluators believe cannot be cleaned using other methods must be disposed of according to the type and degree of contamination. Some materials may not be suitable for landfill disposal but will have to be disposed of by a licensed contractor.
Neutralization: Where acids or bases have been used, the potential for harmful effects may be reduced or removed through neutralization. Acids may be neutralized with solutions of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and bases may be neutralized by using weakly acidic solutions of vinegar or acetic acid in water.
Detergent-Water Washing: Some nonporous and semi-porous surfaces, such as floors, tiles, walls and ceilings, can be scrubbed with detergent and water solutions.
Encapsulation or Sealing: For some surfaces, contamination may be covered with layers of oil-based paint, polyurethane or other approved materials.
It is important to keep in mind that the type(s) of cleaning necessary depends on a variety of factors. What may be appropriate in one situation will not be acceptable in the next.
After the residence has been cleaned using these guidelines, it is advisable to have your property evaluated and tested. Especially If you are concerned about any remaining contamination, or if your property still has an odor, visible staining, or causes physical irritation to those exposed. Also, if you are concerned with liability issues, you should consider having the property tested. Sampling is an expensive option, but may provide peace of mind for property owners and families. You may want to contact your insurance carrier for advice and assistance.
If you fail to disclose the meth history of the property and/or fail to have it properly cleaned, the matter could end up in litigation. If you find a meth lab on your property, please save time, money, stress, and possibly the life of another by having it properly cleaned.