Methamphetamine (meth) labs across the state pose a threat to Hoosiers. Chemicals from the "cooking" meth can contain a toxic mixture of alcohol, ether, benzene, anhydrous ammonia, toluene, and drain cleaner, just to name a few. When meth "cooks," the vapor and smoke can leave an "invisible" residue that can cause serious health and environmental issues. Unsuspecting home buyers, tenants, and neighbors can be exposed to these toxic chemicals through inhalation and contact with the skin without realizing it.
Since 2007 the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has been responsible for certifying meth lab cleanup contractors to help protect Hoosiers and the environment. IDEM, in conjunction with the Indiana State Police, hosts day-long seminars to provide training and testing for certification. Contractors who pass the test are then placed on IDEM's Qualified Inspectors List for Illegal Drug Lab Cleanups (www.idem.IN.gov/4184.htm ). Cleanup contractors, as well as state and county health department staff, attend these sessions. A total of 316 people representing 55 certified cleanup contractors have gone through IDEM's class. The next class will be announced this winter.
Cleaning up a meth lab is not a task for the average landlord. The cleanup requires sophisticated protective gear to prevent inhalation of harmful chemicals or absorption through the skin. IDEM conducts two certification trainings per year to make certain that cleanup contractors are qualified to do a cleanup that will meet the rigid criteria. Once a property is tested and determined to be clean, landlords may obtain a certificate of completion from the certified cleanup contractor verifying that their property has been cleaned to Indiana standards. Last year the Indiana State Police busted 1,395 labs, and 35 percent of those were in dwellings.
Websites that may be helpful are:
Indiana State Police meth lab website - www.meth.IN.gov
IDEM meth lab cleanup website - www.idem.IN.gov/4178.htm
Established in 1986, IDEM (www.idem.IN.gov) implements federal and state regulations regarding the environment. Through compliance assistance, incentive programs and educational outreach, the agency encourages and aids businesses and citizens in protecting Hoosiers and our environment. As the agency celebrates its 25th anniversary, IDEM is highlighting environmental accomplishments and important challenges that lie ahead.
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