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P/Meth Lab

At ENVIRO we provide a full range of services to both the private and public sectors. Our highly trained staffs has extensive experience in hazardous and non-hazardous waste clean-up and site remediation. We are professionals who have the knowledge and experience to develop a positive outcome in a wide variety of situations.

 

Drug Laboratory Decontamination

Former Lab

After removal of the illicit laboratory equipment and chemicals, residual amounts of some substances may persist on building surfaces and furnishings prior to cleanup. Substances present in the active lab as gases or volatile solvents should dissipate rapidly with ventilation, unless there has been a significant spill and a residual pool of liquid remains. 

Cleanup

In addition to the cooks, members of the household, and law enforcement personnel making the initial site assessment, health effects could also occur in cleanup crews or persons reoccupying the house before cleanup. Cleanup personnel may be exposed to high concentrations of toxic chemicals for short periods of time (acute exposure) and should be aware of symptoms of acute exposures from solvents, cyanides, corrosives, and irritants and metals and their salts.

When symptoms of acute exposure are experienced, appropriate action must be taken to leave the source, or to remove the source from the exposed person. For instance, when a person begins to feel symptoms of acute solvent intoxication (headache, lethargy, disorientation, respiratory difficulty, and eye irritation), he/she should immediately leave the interior of the house being cleaned and get out into fresh air. Re-entry should not occur unless adequate ventilation has reduced the airborne contaminant to safe levels or unless he/she wears self-contained breathing apparatus. Appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) must be worn at all times.

We have always taken great pride in being responsive to the environmental concerns of our clients. With environmental considerations, laws, regulations, and technologies continually changing, you can be assured that we are keeping pace with these changes and the resulting consequences to our customers.

 

Drug Laboratory Implications for Human Health

Some chemicals used in methamphetamine production present a danger of injury from fire or explosion. In addition, at the lab site there are possible risks of exposure to infectious disease (e.g., AIDS, hepatitis B) in the event of skin puncture by drug paraphernalia. Risk of injury or toxicity from chemical exposure is present, depending on the toxic properties of the chemicals, quantity and form, concentration, duration, and route of exposure. Systemic absorption of chemicals or injury may occur by one or more of the following routes of exposure:

  1. Inhalation
  2. Skin exposure
  3. Ingestion (swallowing)
  4. Injection

Inhalation and/or skin exposure are the most likely routes of exposure for persons exposed to the drug lab environment. The cook has the potential of toxicity from all routes of exposure; i.e., ingestion and injection of the drug, spill of chemicals onto the skin, and inhalation of vapours. Children living in the drug lab environment typically are in contact with the floor, thus have a higher potential for exposure because of the possibility of ingesting chemicals (e.g., mercury and lead) in addition to inhalation or skin exposure.

Inhalation or skin exposure may result in injury from corrosive substances, with symptoms ranging from shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, to burns to the skin. Many solvents are absorbed into the body through the lungs and if the dose is sufficient may cause symptoms of intoxication, dizziness, lack of coordination, nausea, and disorientation. The skin, to a lesser extent, may also absorb some solvents if chemicals remain in direct contact. Ingestion of chemicals will result in the greatest risk of toxicity. However, except in a suicide attempt or a child accidentally ingesting these chemicals, toxicity by ingestion is a remote possibility.

The final methamphetamine product has considerable potential for adverse effects in the drug user. Toxic properties of the drug may cause agitation, psychosis, seizures, respiratory arrest, and death. In addition, drugs produced in drug labs contain an abundance of contaminants and by-products, which do not have predictable effects on the drug user. Impurities found in some drugs produced in drug labs have resulted in severe and permanent neurologic disability following intravenous injection. As state and federal agencies reduce the availability of precursors by regulation and enforcement, it can be anticipated that the cook will resort to more exotic methods of production, resulting in the creation of contaminants and by-products with unexpected and potentially serious adverse effects to the drug user.

Cleanup

In addition to the cooks, members of the household, and law enforcement personnel making the initial site assessment, health effects could also occur in cleanup crews or persons reoccupying the house before cleanup. Cleanup personnel may be exposed to high concentrations of toxic chemicals for short periods of time (acute exposure) and should be aware of symptoms of acute exposures from solvents, cyanides, corrosives, and irritants and metals and their salts.

When symptoms of acute exposure are experienced, appropriate action must be taken to leave the source, or to remove the source from the exposed person. For instance, when a person begins to feel symptoms of acute solvent intoxication (headache, lethargy, disorientation, respiratory difficulty, and eye irritation), he/she should immediately leave the interior of the house being cleaned and get out into fresh air. Re-entry should not occur unless adequate ventilation has reduced the airborne contaminant to safe levels or unless he/she wears self-contained breathing apparatus. Appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) must be worn at all times.

We have always taken great pride in being responsive to the environmental concerns of our clients. With environmental considerations, laws, regulations, and technologies continually changing, you can be assured that we are keeping pace with these changes and the resulting consequences to our customers.
 

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