Methamphetamine and Meth Labs
Health Concerns

stethoscope graphic

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant and one of a family of drugs known as amphetamines.  Meth is a man-made drug that can be swallowed, snorted, smoked or injected.  Depending on the way meth is processed, meth may range in color from white to brown; pink to red or in various shades of yellow or green.  Meth can come in pill form, powder, chunks or crystal.  Common street names for meth include: "speed", "chalk", "ice", "crystal", "crank" and "glass".  The What is Meth page has more information about meth.

I think my house or apartment used to be a meth lab.  How do I know if my house or apartment is safe to live in?
The most serious health concerns about meth lab contamination are about human exposures to lab chemicals in homes and other structures, vehicles where people spend a lot of time, and exposure to road side waste. If there is documentation that the house or apartment has been properly remediated or cleaned up by a contractor, then the residence should be safe.  If the residence has not been remediated by a contractor, then you need to determine if there was a meth lab on the property.  If the residence is determined to be a former meth lab, it will need to be cleaned up before you live in the residence.  The How do I recognize a meth lab page has specific information on identification of a meth lab.

I think someone was using meth in my home. Will I get sick if I live there?

Meth use can result in the contamination of surfaces depending on how much meth was smoked and the way the meth was smoked.  The property can be tested for meth in order to evaluate the contamination level.  If the level is below the California health based standard (California standard), cleanup of the property is not necessary.  If the level is above the California standard, then the Cleanup Guidance that MDH maintains can be used.  See Meth Lab Cleanup for more information about testing and the Cleanup Guidance. 

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Updated Thursday, October 03, 2013 at 10:30AM