To avert potential liability, property managers need to identify signs that there could be a meth lab on the premises and they must know how to respond if they discover one, says Wayne. They also need to learn how to establish good management practices to help prevent labs from being set up in the first place.
However, everyone needs to be aware of the problem, because meth can be cooked almost anywhere — in a storage locker, a field, a car or SUV or in an empty lot.
The following, Wayne says, can be indications of a meth lab:
- Large amounts of raw cooking materials are strewn inside a unit and sometimes outside by the dumpster. Materials can include cold tablets containing the word “FED,” any kind of alcohol, ether, drain cleaner, gasoline additives such as Heet, bags of salt, batteries, Red Devil lye, matches, muriatic acid, iodine and farm fertilizer. Non-pet owners with bags of kitty litter and gas cans with plastic hoses duct-taped to them should also raise suspicions.
- Strange odors can also indicate that a lab is in operation. Odors that are antiseptic, sour or metallic, irritating or pungent or that smell like fuel, gas, paint thinner, ether, ammonia, a baby’s diaper or urine can emanate from the cooking process.
Other signs to watch for include:
- Druggies loitering around a unit or at a particular part of the property waiting for something, but not dealing drugs on their own
- Windows taped shut or covered with aluminum foil
- Purple streaks on the exteriors of aluminum windows
- Yellow coloration to walls with an iodine cast and iodine-colored carpet stains
- People who step outside their apartments to smoke cigarettes
The equipment used to manufacture meth includes: Pyrex or Corning rose-colored dishes, jugs, bottles, coffee filters, aluminum foil, blenders, rubber tubing and gloves, paper towels, gas cans, duct tape and clamps, hotplates, cheesecloth, bottles of colored liquid, propane tanks, how-to books and chemistry glass.
When many of these items are found together or they appear in a messy or cluttered environment, landlords should be suspicious.
Information on how to clean up a meth lab and how to prevent a meth lab operation will appear in the Sept. 1 edition of NBN Online.
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