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Effects of Meth Labs

The Far-Reaching Effects of Meth Labs

The manufacturing of methamphetamine is an ever-growing industry. While other illegal drugs – such as marijuana and cocaine – require reliance on imports, methamphetamine does not. Also known as ‘ice’ or meth, this substance can be manufactured in laboratory-like settings, making it easier to access. People can use residential homes or apartments, garages, barns, and even caravans as the location where they create the drug. Here, in these meth labs, people mix several types of chemicals and elements together in a process referred to as ‘cooking.’

The direct negative physical and psychological results aren’t the only adverse effects involving meth. Since meth labs don’t require much space, they can be located in residential locations, and the people nearby may never know. Meth labs cause numerous health, environmental, and safety issues. Knowing the warning signs that a meth lab may be located nearby can help people stay protected, and alert authorities if needed.


  1. Smells: Possible odors may indicate a nearby meth lab. While not all types of meth have an odor, it is reported that some may produce an odor of ammonia or ether may be present.
  2. Actions: If there is a large amount of traffic to and from the residence, or the individual(s) are awake a majority of the time or at odd hours
  3. Ingredients: Possible ingredients used to make meth may be spotted going into the residence often. These include things such as aquarium tubing; empty soda cans and bottles; cold packs; cold or allergy medicine; aluminum foil; coffee filters; drain cleaner; ether; and lithium batteries.
  4. Others: Other possible warning signs may include signs such as dark covers over the windows; heavy duty locks on certain areas; surveillance cameras are found at nearly every meth lab.

The far-reaching effects of meth labs are frightening. The health and safety of those in the residence, as well as anyone who may be nearby, are all at risk. Meth labs also affect the environment significantly. People may be aware of the fact that the drug is dangerous, but a majority of people don’t know all of the risks that meth labs pose.


Safety Issues, or Effects on Safety:

  1. Individuals directly in contact with the lab – People who maintain meth labs or reside in or around them are at risk of coming in contact with toxic, even possibly radioactive chemicals; flammable chemicals, causing fires; and explosive agents, causing explosions, and death may result from any of the reactions.
  2. Individuals indirectly or unknowingly in contact – People who are near meth labs or unknowingly living in a former one are at risk of chemicals burns or reactions from residue on the walls, curtains, carpets, or furniture. They are also at risk of injury or death if a nearby meth lab catches on fire or explodes.

Health Effects:

  1. Chronic or long-term exposure – Individuals cooking meth, or those living in a former meth lab that wasn’t properly decontaminated may experience – Congenital disabilities or reproductive issues, such as miscarriages; different types of cancers; liver, brain, lung, and kidney damage.
  2. Acute exposure – Short-term exposure before the lab has been ventilated, or people living near an active lab may experience – Loss of coordination; dizziness; headache; chemical irritation; cough or chest pain; and shortness of breath.

Environmental Effects or Hazards:

Meth labs can cause several problems for the environment.

    • It is estimated that one pound of manufactured meth results in approximately six pounds of waste.
    • Chemicals are often dumped into the ground, sewer systems, and rivers or other bodies of water. Not only are these chemicals highly flammable and explosive, but they can contaminate water supplies.
    • Cleanup of meth labs places dangerous and costly burdens on the community. Specialized teams are required to decontaminate – for which the community often pays the bill.

Meth labs in rural communities increase the chance of more people getting involved in using the drug or even cooking it. The more people that use or manufacture drugs in a community, the more of a downfall it becomes. Drug use, especially meth – increases the likelihood of high school dropouts, and increases crime and unemployment rates.

It’s apparent that meth has several adverse effects. Even being near meth can result in serious injury or death. Even individuals who aren’t taking risks are still paying for it because others are making bad choices.

Anyone who has a problem with meth should consider inpatient treatment at a rehabilitation facility, to get on track to a better, drug-free life.

Anyone who suspects a nearby meth lab should contact authorities immediately. A possible false alarm is much better than an explosion because nobody reported suspicions.

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