How it Happens
When a house is used a a meth lab, meth is used there or it is used to store equipment that was used to make meth, the toxins stick around clinging to the wall, carpets and other surfaces long after those inhabitants are gone.
When a meth lab is found in a house it is deemed a “meth house” the health department seizes the house and cleanse it. The issue here is that in many states there are extremely laxed regulations on who does the cleaning and how thorough it is. In some states getting the license that allows you to clean up sites such as a meth house is as easy as a couple hours of class and a written test.
Some state such as Colorado, Washington and North Carolina have effective ways for getting ride of the lingering chemicals and toxins but not all states do.
Idaho for example only tests the room in which the meth was actually cooked. When in reality, the toxins spread throughout the house, they don’t just stay in that single room. Testing only one room can lead to the house being cleared for sale but not actually clear from the toxins.
What Are the Effects?
Short term exposure to the toxins can lead to headaches, fatigue, Nashua and sinus problems. Over a long period of time residents can have liver damage and it is believed that exposure to the chemicals lead to cancer as well.
The effects are more harmful to young children “My child will likely have a lifetime of permanent medical issues because of this house, and we are going into bankruptcy because we can’t sell the house.” said Jaimee Alkinani, who bought a meth house in Salk Lake City. She and her husband bought the house without knowing that it has once been used as a meth lab.
The disclosure laws in Utah do not require the buyer to be notified as long as the house has been decontaminated.
Not all of the effects are purely healthy related.
Like in Alkinania’s case many people who buy these houses get stuck with two house payments because they are unable to sell the house and unable to live in it. It costs between $5,000 and $10,000 to decontaminate a house.
How to Protect Yourself
When buying a house you should always ask if the house has been used for any illegal activity, while not all states require the realtor to answer honestly, it is best to ask.
Not all meth labs get reported so even in a full disclosure state you can still be unknowingly buying a meth house.
The best precaution is to have the house tested yourself before buying, you can buy a test for as little as $50 in some states. Others are more expensive but it will save you the cost of moving into a house that you are unable to live in.