Texas Meth Labs

Home Inspector with Premier Property Inspections




Many people are unaware that they're living near a meth lab. Meth labs can turn up anywhere such as houses, barns, apartments, trailers, campers, cabins and motel rooms - even in vehicles. The equipment needed for a meth lab can be as small as to fit in a carry-on bag, a small cardboard box or the trunk of a car.

Here are some of the signs to look for in identifying a meth lab: 

  • Houses with windows blacked out.
  • Strong and unusual smells/odors(like cat urine, ammonia or other odd smelling chemicals).
  • Renters who pay the landlord in cash. (Most drug dealers trade only in cash.)
  • Lots of traffic with people coming and going at strange times. There may be little traffic during the day, but at night the activity increases quite a bit. 
  • Large amount of  trash including large amounts of items such as: antifreeze containers, lantern fuel cans, red  stained coffee filters, drain cleaner and duct tape.
  • Large amounts of clear glass containers being brought into the home.
  • Windows blacked out or covered by aluminum foil, plywood, sheets, blankets, etc.
  • Secretive / protective area surrounding the residence (like video cameras, alarm systems, guard dogs, reinforced doors, electrified fencing).
  • Little traffic during the day, but high volume of traffic at late hours; including many different vehicles arriving and staying for small periods of time.
  • Very little or no mail, furniture, visible trash and no newspaper delivery.

Presence of the following items could indicate the existence of a meth lab in your neighorhood:

Toluene/Paint Thinner
Camp Stove Fuel/Coleman Fuel
Starting Fluid
Anhydrous Ammonia
White Gasoline
Iodine Crystals
Red Phosphorous
Black Iodine
Lye (Red Devil Lye)
Muriatic/Hydrochloric Acid
Battery Acid/Sulfuric Acid
Epsom Salts
Sodium Metal
Wooden Matches
Propane Cylinders
Hot Plates
Ephedrine (over-the-counter)
Cold Tablets
Energy Boosters
Rock Salt
Diet Aids


What are the health effects from exposure to meth lab contaminants?

The contaminants present during meth's cooking process can be very harmful if someone is exposed to them. The contaminants can cause many different health problems such as respiratory (breathing) problems, skin and eye irritation, headaches, nausea and dizziness. Acute (short-term) exposures to high concentrations of some of these chemicals, such as those police officers encounter when they first enter a lab, can cause severe health problems including lung damage and burns to different parts of the body.

There is little known about the health effects from chronic (long-term) exposure to contaminants left behind after a meth lab is dismantled. Until the contaminants have been identified, their quantities measured, and their health effects known, property owners should exercise caution and use the safest possible cleaning practices in dealing with  former meth lab properties and any possible remaining contamination.

The possible health effects depend on

  • which chemicals to which a person is exposed
  • how much of each chemical to which a person is exposed,
  • how long a person is exposed, and
  • the health condition of the person being exposed.

Exposure to meth residues may cause symptoms similar to those experienced by meth users.

Exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may cause symptoms such as nose and throat irritation, headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion and breathing difficulties


 Coffee Pot Mini Meth Lab

Ask just about anyone in law enforcement, and they will tell you to be very careful if you ever brew coffee in a hotel or motel room.

Instead of brewing coffee, coffee pots are sometimes used to brew methamphetamine. And since meth labs in hotels aren't anything new, Police say there's definitely a risk. "The coffee makers that you find in every motel room is an ideal heat source. They mix it up in the coffee pot, put it on a heat source and let it sit there and cook," said Phillips. It's common knowledge to those who fight meth, but a shock to your average citizen.

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