How clean is “clean” when it comes to property damage and the health side effects associated with illicit meth labs? While the health effects of the drug on users are well understood, one aspect of meth production that is often overlooked is the property damage caused by these clandestine operations and the potential harm to the health of individuals who occupy a former meth lab. In this article, Kirstin explores the typical cleaning and remediation procedures used as meth labs are relatively consistent between guidelines documents; however, the acceptable post-remediation clearance limit for residual meth surface concentrations vary widely amongst current standards. There are few guidelines that exist within Canada for the remediation of buildings used for the synthesis of illegal substances. What does this mean for remediation contractors and environmental consultants when there is a regulatory void?
One option is to look to the American state legislature, as well as further abroad, for guidance in these matters. In the United States, no federal regulation exists. Instead, regulations are developed and implemented by individual states. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also has a set of voluntary guidelines for meth lab remediation, which includes conducting pre-remediation surface sampling to determine the extent of the chemical contamination, the sequence of remediation steps, and post-remediation sampling to confirm that the chemical contaminants have been successfully removed.
In the absence of Canadian legislature in this area, a qualified and experience consultant, public health official, and/or hygienist should provide guidance to the cleaning and remedial contractor.