How to Tell if Your Home Was Once A Meth Lab

By: Mike McCarthy, Reporter
By: Mike McCarthy, Reporter

Knoxville (WVLT) - Meth labs don't just land the dealers who get caught running them, in jail. They also leave a lasting and often dangerous impression on the home, apartment or business where they are busted. The cancer-causing chemicals used can soak into the walls, carpet, and ceiling.

So how do you make sure you don't end up in a former meth lab when you lease your next apartment or buy a home?

Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy got some answers.

A meth bust underway at Windover Apartments unit 185 Thursday night.

"Meth labs are dangerous. They are ticking time bombs. If it's not handled right, it could be real bad," says Knoxville Fire Captain Buddy Parker.

Bad for the alleged meth makers, bad for the apartment where they set up shop and often you and your family, should you call the one-time-crime scene "home."

"You still have all the chemicals that they use that soak up into the walls, carpets, and ceilings. They're going to emit gas as long as they're in there," Captain Parker explains.

Meth ingredients like acetone aren't just flammable, they also can cause cancer.

But finding out if this has happened at the next place you plan to call home could be tough.

"Nine times out of ten, they're going to paint or put down new carpet in your new apartment. So, the tell-tale sings of a meth lab wouldn't be there," Parker says.

The solution, say police and other experts? Flat-out ask the landlord or realtor if the apartment's ever been home to meth lab.

And, by law, they have to tell you.

While it's hard to tell if a meth lab's been in an apartment you're thinking about renting, there are some things you can keep your eye out for where you live now.

"Things you can look for are traffic at odd times during the day and night. If it's not ventilated well, there could be odd chemical odors," Parker says.

Authorities say this time, the duct work at Windover kept other residents safe.

Your best option: keep you nose, ears and eyes open for any unusual behavior.

"You've got to be vigilant," Captain Parker says.

And if you notice anything, call police.


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