Cleaning Up Former Meth Houses Is A Booming Business

Cleaning Up Former Meth Houses Is a Booming Business

Even if intrigue and criminal activity aren't quite up your alley, you can still cash in on meth. That's because riding on the coat tails of the meth epidemic is the growing industry of meth lab cleanup. You won't be Walter White, but you can still wear a fluorescent hazmat suit, and you probably won't have international drug cartels chasing after you.

Cooking meth leaves behind chemical waste — up to 3kg of it for each 500g of meth. Drain cleaner, brake fluid, lighter fluid and hydrochloric acid are just some of the nasty chemicals used to cook. Toxic chemical residues from the process then seep into the walls, carpeting, vents and plumbing of the building being used as a lab. All of this is terrible for your lungs.

Cleaning up these labs is a dirty business, but someone has to do it. And it turns out that a good scrub can do wonders for a former meth house. Hard surfaces are power washed; carpets are torn up. It's been estimated that environmental cleanup costs $US29 million a year.

Earlier this year, Vocativ followed a meth clean-up crew around the US state of Indiana as they threw out meth paraphernalia and removed carpets. One of the crew members is named Crystal, and, yes, she does call herself Crystal Meth.

But the cleaning business isn't so squeaky clean either. As the AP reports, this relatively young industry isn't well-regulated, and contractors who put in low bids may cut corners. A Tennessee man is currently on trial for certifying improperly cleaned homes as safe. I mean, come on — if you're cleaning up crime scenes, you should try to avoid committing any crimes of your own. [Associated Press]

Picture: Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

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