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  1. #1
    David Arrington's Avatar
    David Arrington Guest

    Default Crystal Meth Check

    I had an interesting question raised by a real estate broker this week. Obviously, if a house is known to be or have been a meth lab, the police must be brought in.

    However, if a "suspicious substance" is found in the house, is there a way to identify if it is meth, such as having tested at a lab?

    Thanks for any input.

    David Arrington

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    Quote Originally Posted by David Arrington View Post

    However, if a "suspicious substance" is found in the house, is there a way to identify if it is meth, such as having tested at a lab?


    David Arrington
    Beyond the Scope of what a Home Inspector does.

    No Way would I get involved.

    Example (Baby Powder stored in a plastic bag because container was damaged.)


    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    One point of view:

    "In almost every case where FACTs has been involved and where an home inspector has identified a potential methlab based on visual or olfactory clues, the property has not been a methlab. Similarly, in only one case thus far, has an home inspector properly identified a methlab when it really was there; virtually always, an home inspector will fail to identify a methlab. This is not to cast aspersions on home inspectors, it simply is not their task, nor is it their obligation, nor their responsibility to be able to identify methlabs. Home Inspectors should not be expected to identify methlabs, and they should indemnify themselves against such oversights.

    Realtors and Home Inspectors generally report on material facts; their standard of care is necessarily limited to their professions, and training. If a nosey neighbor approached an Home Inspector during an home inspection and told the home inspector that she thinks the previous occupants were meth-heads since she didn’t like them, is that material knowledge? If during a home inspection the Home Inspector strikes up a conversation with a beat cop who informs him that a meth-lab was removed from the property, does that raise the standard of care and standard of expectation of what the Home Inspector or Realtor must disclose?"


    - Recognizing a Methlab

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    If someone was to tell me the home was a meth lab while booking the inspection, I'd personally not take on the job.

    The associated health risks that you could I could come in contact with is not worth the money to me.

    JMHO


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    Quote Originally Posted by David Arrington View Post
    I had an interesting question raised by a real estate broker this week. Obviously, if a house is known to be or have been a meth lab, the police must be brought in.

    However, if a "suspicious substance" is found in the house, is there a way to identify if it is meth, such as having tested at a lab?

    Thanks for any input.

    David Arrington
    I'm sure it could be simple to test, if you have the knowledge and equipment. I'm betting that most state health departments would be a good source for information. Also, if I had a client that had this need I would try to find an environmental consulting firm to handle it.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    Having done extensive, ongoing Drug and Gang house inspections, I can assure you "NOT YOUR JOB". Stay out of it!
    An HI has no business getting involved in such matters. The legal ramifications of making such accusations or referrals can be devastating. The personal safety issues in getting involved in someone's lucrative trade can be deadly. If the situation is very obvious and you feel you need to do some kind of civic duty ... you can make a referral to the district watch commander or tact team.
    Do not get into a discussion about it with a realtor or related parties.
    A powdery substance is not 'probable cause' for the untrained novice sleuth.
    I used to know a lawyer who for kicks would write, 'no probable cause' on small pieces of paper, then fold them into small triangles to look like drug packets and drop them around the courthouse.
    As a side note, if you don't smell an acidic, ammonia type smell it's probably not a methlab. The cooking smell is very hard to conceal.
    Stay out of it.

    www.aic-chicago.com
    773/844-4AIC
    "The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

  7. #7
    Jim Zborowski's Avatar
    Jim Zborowski Guest

    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    Liability issues notwithstanding, I would be more concerned with my and my clients personal safety if it were in fact a prior meth lab. If you are going into homes that are known to be suspect, I would be cautious as there are explosion as well as other hazards involved. There are numerous items which are not found in high quantities in a normal residence, which would indicate the manufacture of meth. Dry cell batteries taken apart, large amounts of drain cleaner contaners, etc.
    It would not be a bad idea to contact your local Drug Task Force and explain to them you are a home inspector and are interrested in learning what to watch out for, as a rule, they will be more than happy to give you a mini seminar, at no charge.
    Should you then encounter the posible makings of a meth lab and feel a real need to report it, it would normally be treated as an annonymous tip, similar to reporting suspected child abuse.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    Reminds me of one we once had come up..... one of our guys went to a house and there was a full-blown pot grow operation going on. So, he called me to ask me whether or not we ID it as what it is. First off, I had to laugh that somebody would have an inspection done with these conditions taking place (Appearantly, they'd tested the crop a bit too much)...... I told him to not mention it. The buyer was there, realtors, etc, etc. It's not what we're there for.

    Of course, I told him to take an extra close look at the electrical stuff supplying the 'farm' but otherwise it's not our deal.

    It's like when you're going through an apartment building and find bongs in every other unit. I don't know about you guys but I just move on. I'm not there to be a DEA agent.


  9. #9
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
    Joseph P. Hagarty Guest

    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    Are there no other homes for sale that the only home considered is one that is disclosed as a Meth Lab?

    Time to find an investment alternative.....

    Maybe some Bears Stearn (BSC) Stock....It is up from its $2.84 Low.....


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    I HAD A HOUSE THAT THE SON HAD A POT GARDEN IN THE ATTIC.

    THIS WAS A BIG EYE OPENER FOR ALL THE PARTIES. THE BUYER WAS A SCHOOL TEACHER AND BACK OUT OF THE DEAL.

    I WAS IN THE CENTER OF IT.

    JUST DOING MY JOB.

    BEST.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    Ron,

    Hit it for us.

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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    SORRY ITS BROKEN. bonehead inspector.
    will get it fix asap.


    Best


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    We're a team then.

    LOL


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Bibler View Post
    SORRY ITS BROKEN. bonehead inspector.
    will get it fix asap.


    Best
    Ron, you are so full of it! You know as well as I do that you type your reports in CAPS. I'm surprised you know how to turn off the caps at all.

    Department of Redundancy Department
    http://www.FullCircleInspect.com/

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    CRYSTAL METH GUNNAR ? ITS GOOD TO SEE MY REPORTS ARE GETTING AROUND.

    SORRY FOR THE CAPS THING Rick. Back down in lower case.

    Old dog thing.

    Say Gunnar Got a rock for you!

    Somethings we just flush. Injoy the photo

    Love ya Man

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  16. #16

    Default Re: Crystal Meth Check

    Hello Mr. Arrington:

    Just a couple of quick thoughts on your question, but first a comment. You prefaced your post with:

    Obviously, if a house is known to be or have been a meth lab, the police must be brought in.

    Actually, cops aren’t too interested in after the fact meth houses. Mostly, such properties are environmental issues, not criminal issues. Most jurisdictions would not even assign a car to the property for follow-up. For a start, even if you find a little baggie of suspicious substance, we usually can’t even use it for evidentiary purposes.

    Now having said all that – There are several different meth tests kits on the market – some are really very good (such as the SKC products called MethCheck and MethAlert) and some are REALLY horrible.

    However, even the really good ones suffer from the same problem – sampling error.

    You can train a monkey to take a sample (mould, radon, meth, .. fill in the blank), but you cannot teach the monkey how to interpret the data. For a start, you cannot teach a monkey on where and why to sample (profound elements of interpretation). You cannot teach the monkey the limitations of the sample (the confidence of the results) – which is what makes mould samples and radon samples so unreliable.

    So, where a sample comes back “negative” you should ways read “inconclusive” and where a sample comeback “positive” you can usually read “probable.”

    However, having said that, in some states (such as Colorado) the use of such kits for demonstration of compliance are prohibited.

    Also, although I have played around with a couple of different brands, in every case without exception (even with the good kits), we have had “negative” results in properties that were already confirmed as being contaminated.

    Cheers!
    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Home

    <SMALL>(The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)

    AMDG</SMALL>


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