NAR Library & Archives has already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require the member's nar.realtor login.
How to Identify a Methamphetamine (Meth) Lab
- Unusually strong odors
- Blacked out windows
- Excessive trash
- Traffic at unusual times
- Evidence of chemical waste or dumping
- Extensive security measures or attempts to ensure privacy
- Secretive or unfriendly occupants
Methanphetamine Laboratory Identification and Hazards Fast Facts (Department of Justice)
This pamphlet from the Department of Justice’s National Drug Intelligence Center lays out the basics of meth labs, identifies some of the tell-tale signs listed above, and gives information about how to report a meth lab to limit the hazards to the neighborhood or neighboring properties.
Voluntary Guidelines for Methamphetamine and Fentanyl Laboratory Cleanup (Environmental Protection Agency, Jul. 29, 2022)
“The Voluntary Guidelines for Methamphetamine and Fentanyl Laboratory Cleanup provides technical guidance for state and local personnel responsible for methamphetamine (meth) and fentanyl lab cleanup. The Guidelines are based on an extensive review of the best available science and practices and addresses general cleanup activities, identifies best practices for specific items or materials, discusses sampling procedures, and provides additional technical resources. EPA recognizes the emerging threat of fentanyl and the significant hazards fentanyl poses to the public and updated this document to include a new chapter on fentanyl remediation.”
Clandestine Drug Labs in the United States (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, 2022)
“The U.S. Department of Justice ("the Department") provides this web site as a public service. It contains addresses of some locations where law enforcement agencies reported they found chemicals or other items that indicated the presence of either clandestine drug laboratories or dumpsites.”
National Drug Threat Assessment (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Mar. 2021)
On pages 19-27, find the DEA’s assessment of meth use in the United States. This section includes the graph of the “number of domestic methamphetamine laboratory incidents, 2000-2019.” In the graph you can see “In the early 2000s, domestic methamphetamine laboratory seizures increased yearly in the United States and peaked in 2004 with approximately 23,700 methamphetamine laboratory incidents reported…Domestic methamphetamine production has decreased annually since 2004, with a moderate spike in production from 2007 to 2010 that has since declined significantly with 890 seizure incidents of methamphetamine laboratories reported to NSS in 2019, the lowest reported in 19 years.”
What Is Methamphetamine? (National Institute on Drug Abuse, May 2019)
“Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks. It is chemically similar to amphetamine, a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.”
Real Estate Issues
The Mess of Meth Lab Cleanups (The Regulatory Review, May 5, 2021)
“The United States currently has only a patchwork of federal and state guidelines on meth lab cleanup—some of which have proven incomplete. No federal law exists to support meth lab cleanup efforts after sites are discovered. Instead, the federal government has relied on guidance to instruct public officials, first responders, industrial hygienists, and the public on safety procedures and the potential hazards of meth lab contamination.”
Household Contamination with Methamphetamine: Knowledge and Uncertainties (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Nov. 23, 2019)
“Contamination of residential homes with methamphetamine is an emerging issue of significant concern to public health…Current guidelines identifying levels of methamphetamine contamination that require remediation vary between countries. There is also no international standard protocol for measuring levels of contamination and research has shown that different materials give rise to different recovery rates of methamphetamine… This manuscript presents the current state of knowledge regarding the contamination of residential homes with methamphetamine and identifies the current gaps in knowledge and priority areas for future research.”
Could That Home be Contaminated with Meth? (REALTOR® Magazine, Jan. 28, 2019)
“In more than half of states, home sellers are required to disclose whether to the best of their knowledge a property has ever been used as a meth lab. But many laws stop short of letting buyers know if meth was ever smoked inside the property, which can also cause problems. When produced or smoked inside a home, meth can seep into the walls, carpets, and heating and cooling systems. Even slight traces of the drug can cause headaches, nausea, and childhood developmental issues.”
Impact of Clandestine Methamphetamine Labs on Property Values: Discovery, Decontamination And Stigma (Journal of Urban Economics, May 2017) E
“While a large literature addresses the societal cost of substance abuse across a number of domains, little is known about the impact of substance abuse on property values. This study uses unique data from Linn County, Oregon to test the impact of the discovery and the subsequent decontamination of clandestine methamphetamine (meth) laboratories (labs) on property values.”
eBooks & Other Resources
The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:
Complete Book of Home Inspection (Kindle, eBook)
Home Buyer's Checklist (Kindle, eBook)
Home Buying for Dummies (Kindle, eBook)
Inspect Before You Buy (Kindle, eBook)
Books, Videos, Research Reports & More
As a member benefit, the following resources and more are available for loan through the NAR Library. Items will be mailed directly to you or made available for pickup at the REALTOR® Building in Chicago.
Death and Disclosure: Legal Strategies for Dealing with Stigmatized Property (October Research Corporation, 2007)
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