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Did I Buy a Meth House?

In 2013, a family of five moved into their new home in Australia. Unknown to them, their new home had been slated for decontamination a few months prior--following the arrest of the original owner for cooking meth. Due to a mix-up, the home sold without decontamination ever occurring.

The family dealt with health issues ranging from watery eyes and trouble sleeping to the development of asthma, anxiety, and ADHD in one of the children. After officials caught the mix-up, the family was notified and promptly moved out of the house.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, exposure to methamphetamines can produce symptoms similar to those experienced while taking meth. These symptoms include “high energy, anxiety, trouble sleeping, increased distractibility, weight loss, and memory troubles,” according to the National Institutes of Health.

But how can you tell if your new home was once the sight of a meth lab? Here are some signs to look out for:

 

Strong odors

Many meth labs utilize ingredients such as acetone, paint thinner, and freon. You can compare certain odors to the smell of cat urine or rotten eggs, so if you recognize any unusual or strong odors, be sure to ask your realtor about them.

 

Unsanitary conditions

This sign is more noticeable when people still live in the home than after they’ve left, but ask the neighbors of the home if they spotted any unsanitary conditions outside before the house was put up for sale.

Cooking meth is a process that requires any number of normal, store-bought items. Because of this, a meth house may have excessive trash, including:

  • Empty containers for antifreeze, paint thinner, acetone, ether, alcohol, and other chemicals

  • Excessive amounts of cold medicine packaging

  • Used coffee filters with colored stains or strange residue

  • Destroyed lithium batteries

 

Notice potential symptoms

Like the family in Australia, exposure to meth can give you or your family similar symptoms that a meth-user may have. These can include:

  • sore, watery eyes

  • trouble sleeping

  • excessive energy

  • paranoia

  • weight loss

  • worsening memory

  • blurred vision

 

Ask for information

The most accurate way for you to know whether your potential new home was a meth lab, is to ask for more information. Visit the neighbors and inquire about the home’s previous activity or request any official reports filed about the house at the local police station. If you still want more information, ask the realtor for a meth lab test.



Meth labs are dangerous and can be hazardous to your health. The experts at Burns Environmental Services can test for methamphetamine and safely remove it if it’s present. Contact our team online or by phone at (800) 577-4009 to set up an appointment today.
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