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Signs of a Meth Lab
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Methamphetamine Enforcement Campaign
Signs of a Meth Lab 
 



Signs of a methamphetamine lab include large quantities of common household products. Used as directed, these household products are generally safe. Mixed together or used improperly, they can become explosive and produce toxic fumes. One of the first indicators of a meth lab is the storing of large amounts of household items such as the following.

 
These chemicals are commonly associated with meth labs:

Acetone

Alcohol (isopropyl or rubbing)

Anhydrous ammonia and ammonium sulfate (fertilizer)

Battery acid (sulfuric acid)

Bleach

Coleman fuel

Drain cleaner (sulfuric acid or caustic soda)

Drain openers such as Red Devil lye

Heet and Iso-Heet, gasoline additives (methanol/alcohol)

Hydrogen peroxide

Iodine (both crystal and liquid)

Lithium batteries

Matches (red phosphorous)

Mineral Spirits

Muriatic acid

Over the counter cold pills containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine

Salt (table or rock)

Sodium and Lithium metal

Starting Fluid (organic ether)

Toluene

Trichloroethane (gun cleaning solvent)

Equipment commonly associated with meth labs:

Aluminum foil

Bed sheets

Blenders

Bottles; such as pop, water and milk bottles

Chemistry glassware

Camp stoves

Cheesecloth

Coffee filters

Cotton balls

Duct tape

Electric portable hot plates, single and double

Funnels

Garden spray jugs

Gas cans

Jugs

Paper towels

pH test strips

Plastic tubing

Pressure cookers

Propane tanks and thermos

Pyrex dishes

Rags

Rubber and latex gloves

Strainers

Swimming pool chemicals

Thermometers

Turkey basting wands

 

Unusual behavior by residential tenants / building occupants may be indicators of a meth lab:

  • Access denied to landlords, neighbors, and other visitors

  • Chemical staining on walls and floors

  • A multitude of expensive home items such as stereos with no visible means of support

  • Cash purchases and paym

    ents

  • Covering or blacking-out of windows

  • Security measures such as cameras or baby monitors outside of buildings

  • Guard dogs

  • Unusual traffic patterns, such as excessive night traffic or large numbers of visitors with short stays

  • Burn pits, stained soil or dead vegetation indicating dumped chemicals or waste from a meth lab

  • Abnormal chemical odors not normally associated with apartments, houses or buildings. These odors may be similar to sweet, bitter, ammonia or solvent smells.

  • Large amounts of household chemicals found in odd places such as:

    • Bathrooms

    • Kitchens

    • Laundry rooms

    • Motel rooms

Illegal dump sites and unauthorized dumpster use:

 
Waste cans or dumpsters emitting strong chemical odors  
  • Trash or waste in pits or illegal dumps containing items such as:
    • Rags with red and/or yellow stains
    • Large number of pill blister packaging from over-the-counter cold, diet or allergy remedies
    • Empty containers from white gas, ether, starting fluids, lye or drain openers, paint thinner, acetone, or alcohol
    • Compressed gas cylinders, or camp stove (Coleman) fuel containers
    • Packaging from Epsom salts or rock salt
    • Propane tanks or coolers containing strong ammonia odors
    • Pyrex/glass/Corning containers, with dried chemical deposits remaining
    • Bottles or containers connected with rubber hosing and duct tape
    • Coolers, thermos bottles, or other cold storage containers
    • Respiratory masks and filters or dust masks
    • Funnels, hosing and clamps
    • Discarded rubber or latex gloves
    • Coffee filters, pillow cases or bed sheets stained red (used to filter red phosphorous), or containing a white powdery residue

If you suspect a Meth Lab:

  • Leave the site at once and report it

  • Do not open any coolers, container or boxes

  • Do not touch any items

  • Don't shut off any electrical supplies

  • Limit time inside scene

  • Handling meth chemicals and/or meth lab waste residue can burn your skin and eyes. Breathing the gases can cause respiratory damage

  • Try not to alert the suspects of your suspicions

 

To report information, call:

 

 

1-800-226-TIPS

 

863-534-6200