Methamphetamine and Meth Labs
Meth Property Testing
When to test: See Legally Declared Meth Lab and Undeclared Meth Lab.
MDH maintains guidance for testing which includes detailed information on testing procedures. Please see Appendix C in the Clandestine Drug Lab Cleanup Guidance (Cleanup Guidance) for specific information on these procedures.
Professional remediation companies have personnel who are trained in testing procedures who can be hired to do meth testing (see Contractor Information for a list). Please contact the companies directly for cost estimates and timeline information.
Home test kits are available. MDH does not evaluate home test kits for effectiveness. Contact the manufacturers for specific information about test kits.
What do the testing results mean?
Samples for methamphetamine are usually surface contamination samples. They measure the concentration, the mass of methamphetamine on a standard surface area. See specific information in the Cleanup Guidance.
- The mass is measured in micro grams (1 millionth of a gram or 10-6 grams or μg). Usually the surface area is 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters (100 centimeters square or 100 cm²).
- If no methamphetamine was detected the result will be No Detect or ND. Otherwise, the result will be a number with units (μg/100 cm²).
- If methamphetamine is present which means there is a result other than ND, then one of two things happened: Meth was used at the property or meth was made at the property (meth lab).
- A result with a higher concentration is generally associated with a higher likelihood that there was a meth lab on the property.
- The California health-based standard for meth residue is used to determine if the level of meth present is safe. This level is 1.5 μg/100 cm². If the level is below the California standard, and the property was not declared a meth lab, then cleanup is not necessary.