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A Warning to Home Buyers and Renters: The Dangers of Meth Labs

Home owners and renters take heed! Homes that were the sites of former meth labs can pose a danger to your health and finances!

For people who live on either coast, it is probably the last thing they would think of if they were moving into a new home, but for people in the midwest meth labs are a danger to new home owners and renters that must not be overlooked.

For this reason, it is important to learn the history of any house or apartment that you plan to purchase or lease. Living at the site of a former meth lab can pose serious health risks as many people have learned too late.

There are laws in place in some states to protect innocent people from the dangers of meth labs, but many of them are not strong enough. For example, in the State of Missouri, which is host to probably the largest number of meth labs per capita of any other state in the union, buyers are protected if there has been a meth lab bust at the residence. There must be a disclosure made to the prospective buyer and the property must be cleaned up by the owner before it can be sold. But, there are two problems with this law: (1) Clean ups are not always sufficient, even though it requires replacement of ventilation systems, repainting, re-carpeting and in some cases even re-plumbing; and (2) the law does little to protect renters.

The residue from methamphetamine production is so hazardous that it can cause a wide variety of health problems, including severe respiratory problems and headaches. Living near a meth house poses a danger to your health. You are also at risk if the meth lab at your neighbors house ever explodes.

When you are buying or renting a house or apartment in the midwest, do not rely solely on your agent or the owner of the property to tell you the history because they may not know.

Before you commit to moving in, take the time to get to know the neighbors and ask them about the people who previously lived in the house. Ask them if there was a lot of traffic at the house, strange trash or strange smells. Ask the neighbors what the previous residents looked like. Many meth users appear normal, but they also frequently have a distinctive appearance. They may have acned skin that looks sagging and aged. They may have rotten teeth and open sores.

Call the local police or sheriff’s department to see if there have been any reports of drug or other illicit activity at the residence.

You may think that it is unlikely that a pretty house in a nice looking neighborhood could be the site of a meth lab, but in some rural areas and towns in the State of Missouri there is a very high estimated percentage of meth labs. They can be anywhere, even in the most peaceful settings. Moving into a former meth lab or buying a house that was a former meth lab can be dangerous and costly. 

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If you buy such a house you run the risk of having it condemned or costing you more than the house is worth in clean-up costs.

Keep the information in this article in mind if you are buying a house anywhere, but, particularly in the midwest.

For more information read about one family’s experience when they bought a former meth house: http://methlabhomes.com.

Familiarize yourself with the characteristics of a meth house at the Minnesota Dept. of Health website: www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/meth/index.html.

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