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Cleaning up homes with meth labs is a growing industry4th of February 2014
Cleaning up homes that have previously been used as meth labs has become a cottage industry in the US.
Tens of thousands of US houses are said to have been used as meth labs over the last decade. The process of cooking meth can cause a range of issues including contaminated worktops, carpets and walls; a pungent odour; leaky roofs and dirty furniture.
Exposure to meth residue can also cause respiratory problems and pose a threat to public safety, claim experts. And meth residue can even cause fires or explosions.
A number of cleaning, construction and demolition companies in the US offer meth-house clean-up as a sideline, but specialist operations are also springing up. One such firm - Meth Lab Cleanup LLC - is growing at a rate of 30 per cent a year according to ceo Joe Mazzuca. "We consider the industry to be still in its infancy," he adds.
During the clean-up process a certified contractor has to remove and replace all contaminated materials including carpets, air conditioning vents and even walls. An industrial hygienist then tests the home to gauge whether it requires further cleaning.
Despite laws requiring landlords to state whether meth has been made on a property, the issue often goes unreported since clean-ups cost between US$3,000 and US$25,000 depending on the size of the property and the degree of contamination.
The television series Breaking Bad - which features a high school chemistry teacher who becomes a meth cooker and dealer - has heightened awareness of the issue in the US.