To date, illegal drug labs of public health concern in Utah County have been methamphetamine production labs. Many of the chemicals used are caustic, corrosive, or create noxious and harmful fumes. Depending on the production method used, some of these chemicals and impure by-products produced include acetone, anhydrous ammonia, chloroform, ephedrine, ether, hydrogen iodide gas, hydriotic acid, iodine, lead, mercury, phosphine gas, red phosphorus, and sulfuric acid. Concentrated amounts of some of these products are absorbed into the building's structural components and contents. If these materials are not properly decontaminated or disposed they may cause chronic health problems for future occupants.
Clues to detect an illegal drug lab operation may include:
1. Windows blocked or blacked-out.
2. Disconnected or missing smoke alarms.
3. Burn marks on carpets and counter tops.
4. Yellow or rust colored stains or splatters on walls, floors, ceilings, counter tops.
5. Unusual or undesirable odors.
6. A large number of propane and butane bottles, match books with striker plates removed, empty chemical containers, packages for cold medicine or energy boosters.
If you suspect an illegal drug lab operation within your community or at one of your properties, immediately contact your local law enforcement agency or the Utah County Major Crimes Task Force at 801-426-4994.
If law enforcement conducts a drug bust and sufficient evidence exists at a property to warrant a cleanup, the property will then be closed to entrance or occupancy by the health department. All contents of the property must remain intact until a certified drug lab cleanup specialist or a health department representative determines the level of cleanup. Re-occupancy can only be obtained when proof of sufficient cleanup has been provided to the health department.