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Troubles with meth: contamination risks

By Olivia Wilmsen, Multimedia Journalist, olivia.wilmsen@krdo.com
Published On: Nov 15 2013 12:12:27 AM CST
Updated On: Nov 15 2013 12:19:44 AM CST

A Monument home was surrounded and part of a street was closed Thursday night. Investigators were there for almost 36 hours. A probation officer found a body and an active meth lab Wednesday morning. We're told the man had no visible injury and there were no signs of foul play.

An autopsy will determine his cause of death. Investigators then were trying to clean up the meth lab.
When police find a meth lab, there are several possibilities of contamination for neighbors and the home itself.

MONUMENT, Colo. -

A Monument home was surrounded and part of a street was closed Thursday night. Investigators were there for almost 36 hours. A probation officer found a body and an active meth lab Wednesday morning. We're told the man had no visible injury and there were no signs of foul play.

An autopsy will determine his cause of death. Investigators then were trying to clean up the meth lab.

When police find a meth lab, there are several possibilities of contamination for neighbors and the home itself.

Neighbors here shouldn't panic necessarily, but they are at risk for contamination if in fact someone was making meth in their neighborhood.

Residents in this Monument neighborhood wondered Thursday how a meth lab ended up on their street.

 “Had no clue as to what was going on or what had happened, until yesterday morning when we came out and the tape was on the property,” said Lowell Pierce.

However, there are signs neighbors could have suspected something was going on.

“A smell of acetone, gases,” said detective Sgt. Ron Reeves with Colorado Springs Police Department Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence.

"It's a very, very strong smell not too much unlike that of cat urine or say skunk smell,” said Alan McGrew, former owner of ECRS, an environmental consulting firm.

McGrew spent 20 years cleaning up meth labs. He says neighbors shouldn't be alarmed, but there is a potential for health concerns.

“Respiratory distress is some type of continued or long-term type of exposure,” said McGrew.

Detective Sgt. Reeves agrees. Lung, liver, and kidney problems are a few health issues related to meth exposure.

Although it isn't likely, it's possible meth made its way through the cracks and exposed the nasty, dangerous chemicals to people nearby.

"Everyone should be concerned, depending on how close that neighbor is to the actual lab itself,” said Sgt. Reeves.

The home itself could need to be gutted out completely.

"They saturate the walls. They contaminate the carpet and they sit there unless someone disturbs that and then it creates possible health issues,” said Sgt. Reeves.

The scary part is if you are exposed to those components, it can cause death immediately.

If you happen to notice a lot of propane tanks or containers of Draino, those are reasons to be suspicious of meth activity.

If you feel any symptoms out of the ordinary, like breathing problems, experts recommend you see a doctor.

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