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Occupational & Environmental Epidemiology

Methamphetamine Labs

Methamphetamine (meth) is a drug that can be easily made using ingredients purchased in local stores. Cold medicines containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, and other materials such as ether, paint thinners, drain cleaner, starter fluid and battery acid are used to make methamphetamine. Making meth is referred to as "cooking." Places where meth is made are called illegal clandestine laboratories, or "meth labs". The chemicals used to make meth can pose multiple dangers to both public health and the environment. Properties where meth is made are often littered with chemical containers, homemade "lab" equipment and lab waste. The process of making meth contaminates surfaces, ventilation systems and absorbent materials (couches, carpets, beds, etc.), and can pose serious health threats to persons exposed to them.

The Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch (OEEB) has been working to address concerns associated with former methamphetamine labs. By North Carolina law (G.S. §130A-284), meth-contaminated properties must be decontaminated before re-occupancy. To ensure the protection of public health, state rules establish decontamination standards and procedures to ensure that properties used as methamphetamine laboratories are rendered safe for habitation. (See our PDF: What If A Meth Lab Is Found On My Property? FAQs for North Carolina Property Owners.)

In North Carolina the State Bureau of Investigation issues a letter to property owners and the local health departments when a lab is seized. This letter serves as a warning that there may be hazardous substances and waste products left at the property. OEE provides consultation and technical advice for health departments, first responders and those who do the cleanup. Learn more about the Industrial Hygiene Consultation Program.

Laws and Rules

Report Templates

Local health departments, property owners and contractors may use these templates to format pre- and post-decontamination assessment reports:

For Additional Information