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Thread: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

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    Exclamation Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    A few months ago I did a pre-listing inspection on an unoccupied house for a family estate. The house was 90+ years old and in poor condition. A family member (a young female) had lived in the house for several years until the family members kicked her out for trashing the property and not paying the utility bills and taxes. I reported a LONG list of deficiencies.

    Recently I spoke with the real estate agent that represented the family and he told me they just had a closing on the house. The family (the sellers) had adjusted the price of the house down to $100k to account for needed repairs (per my report).

    A prospective buyer (the eventual buyer) talked to neighbors and found out the family member who lived in the house was a drug user and had the house tested for drugs. The test showed the presence of meth residue. Apparently she (the occupant) and her friends smoked meth in the house. If they had used the house as a meth lab I guess there would have been much more residue. When the test results showed the presence of meth residue the buyer was able to negotiate a price reduction of $20k.

    Naturally, when I inspected the house I saw no evidence of drug residue. My inspection agreement specifically excludes inspecting for illegal drug residue. If I had done the inspection for a buyer and the buyer later discovered the presence of drug residue I could find myself defending a law suit if I did not have that exclusion in my agreement.

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Added to my contract, thanks.

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

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Hi Bruce, what would be the visible evidence of drugs in a meth house, to your knowledge?


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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    You are mistaken if you think anything you have in the agreement will keep you out of court.

    END GLOBAL WHINING

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Thompson View Post
    You are mistaken if you think anything you have in the agreement will keep you out of court.
    How about a statement that you're not trained or knowledgeable in the detection of drug residue? I see a difference between simply saying you don't report on something and saying that you're not capable of reporting on it.

    I have no hesitation in pleading stupid to relieve a liability burden.

    Janet Campbell likes this.
    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Testing for meth residue is a specialized test and as such in my view is well beyond your typical home inspection.

    Also since residue from smoke is something you cannot visually detect it would be considered a latent issue, not observable by visual (patently observable) observation.

    Raymond Wand Home Inspection Service
    http://www.raymondwand.ca
    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Simkins View Post
    Hi Bruce, what would be the visible evidence of drugs in a meth house, to your knowledge?
    My thread has been resurrected from the dead after almost 3 years!

    Visible evidence of cooking meth can be a chemical smell, red residue, discarded packaging (bottles of chemicals, blister packs of pseudoephedrine, boxes or books of matches, etc.), dead vegetation around the house (where chemicals were poured out), etc.

    I don't think evidence of meth use in a house would be visibly apparent. But then again I am not an expert in this area.

    "Baseball is like church. Many attend but few understand." Leo Durocher
    Bruce Breedlove
    www.avaloninspection.com

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    How about a statement that you're not trained or knowledgeable in the detection of drug residue? I see a difference between simply saying you don't report on something and saying that you're not capable of reporting on it.

    I have no hesitation in pleading stupid to relieve a liability burden.
    Here is a statement in your inspection agreement that might keep you out of court:

    "My company is an llc, I basically have no assets in my llc except my laptop which you can have. I own nothing personally, everything is in my wife's name who is not involved in my llc. I have no money, only debt, and no insurance whatsoever. If you sue me I will declare bankruptcy. You will spend a ton of money on attorneys and get nothing"

    END GLOBAL WHINING

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Hello All –

    Just to touch on Mr. Breedlove’s post - in his state, (Colorado) if an Home Inspector performed sampling for meth and pretended it was valid for a real estate transaction ( (see CRS §38-35.7-103. Disclosure - methamphetamine laboratory.), it is likely that it would be in violation of Colorado 6-CCR-1014-3 as well as Colorado Revised Statute 25-18.5-101 et seq, as well as our criminal code under fraud (CRS §18-5-114 (Offering a false instrument for recording), wherein a person commits a class 5 felony when offering a false instrument for recording in the first degree if, knowing that a written instrument relating to or affecting real or personal property or directly affecting contractual relationships contains a material false statement or material false information, and with intent to defraud, he presents or offers it to a public office or a public employee, with the knowledge or belief that it will be registered, filed, or recorded or become a part of the records of that public office or public employee.

    It is likely that such an Inspector would come up on my radar, and would not like the recognition. In criminal procedings, you can declare bankrupcy to your heart's content, but it will not keep one out of jail. I'm not sure there is any great advantage in being a bankrupt prisoner.

    Just saying…

    Cheers!

    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (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


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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    So Caoimhín

    Is there a test for snake oil?

    Cheers,

    Raymond Wand Home Inspection Service
    http://www.raymondwand.ca
    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    So Caoimhín

    Is there a test for snake oil?

    Cheers,
    Check the nacho site
    I think they have free training that's been approved from over a bazillion agency's, and certification too.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Good morning, all –

    I actually encourage HI’s to include meth testing in their services (if your insurance and standards allow). I think HI’s are in an ideal spot to help buyers avoid problems, and to do it for very little money and very little liability to themselves, but great benefit to the client. The caveat is in how the data are presented.

    When sampling for anything the same concepts in sampling theory apply and the need for data quality objectives still apply. And so it is for sampling for meth.

    Sampling for meth falls under two categories: 1) Qualitative and 2) Quantitative.

    Quantitative sampling and analysis, conclusively identifies and quantifies (it tells us how much of the suspect material is present). I’m held exclusively to this type of method, however, under some rare circumstances, I could adjust my DQOs and use a qualitative method if the project calls for it. In Colorado, it would be unlawful for me to use a qualitative method for regulatory compliance purposes.

    Qualitative sampling is not really an “analysis” and is a “go/no-go” result (i.e., It is either “positive” or it is “not positive”) – Notice I didn’t say ‘It is either “positive” or “negative”.’ This is because even with the better quality kits, a positive is conclusive, but a negative is always inconclusive. (And there are some useless kits on the market).

    Some products, such as the SKC “Meth-Check™” product, is considered to be in between these two kinds of sampling and is referred to as semi-quantitative, in that it conclusively responds with specificity (identifies presence) and does so at a specified detection limit, but doesn’t identify the actual amount. However, the cost of the wipes retails at $35, which is the same price that we pay for an actual, full-blown quantitative analysis by a State Certified laboratory; complete with a QA/QC suite to ensure that the sample results will stand-up in court. Therefore, since the costs are the same, if one is willing to pay that kind of money, we recommend the actual laboratory analysis. SKC also markets a cheaper kit called the “Meth-Alert” which is still semi-quantitative but has an higher detection limit (not necessarily a “bad” thing). The SKC methamphetamine products were developed by a fellow Industrial Hygienist colleague of mine, Cmdr. Eric Esswein CIH (US Public Health Service/NIOSH) working with Dr. John Snawder (NIOSH). The Feds then marketed the product through SKC Inc.

    However qualitative and quantitative methods both suffer from the same problem which is “sampling error.” Unlike samples for mould, in the case of methamphetamine, each individual sample actually represents a small piece of the overall contamination puzzle, and like a jigsaw puzzle, the single piece can be used to put together a picture of the contamination scenario.

    Just like one cannot take a single piece of a jigsaw puzzle, and discern the entire picture, one cannot take a single wipe sample and discern the contamination scenario. Furthermore, just like a jigsaw puzzle, neither is it necessary to complete the puzzle down to the last piece to be able to discern what the puzzle depicts.

    And so it is with sampling for meth, one needs to figure out how many of the right pieces in the right locations will be required o give an overall idea of what the contamination picture looks like without wasting financial resources on pieces (samples) that were not necessary to provide important information, but rather just “filled in the gaps.”

    I currently have a law suit involving an Home Inspector. He took 40 (forty) qualitative samples throughout the structure. All 40 of the qualitative samples came back not-positive. An Industrial Hygienist went into the same structure and collected six samples, all six indicated that the contamination levels was approximately 900 times over the legal limit for the state in question.

    So what did the HI do wrong? Answer: Nothing – here’s why: The Home Inspector was smart enough to tell his client that the sampling he was providing was NOT compliant with regulatory mandates and was not to be used to determine the compliance status of the property – He was providing the sampling as an “information item” for his client, and he would not interpret the results. Before the sampling, he told his client that any positive result, according to the manufacturer, indicated the presence of meth, but any non-positive sample was “inconclusive.” Therefore, at the end of his 40 samples, he said his sampling was not conclusive.

    Since the HI didn’t know anything about meth-labs or how meth was made, or fugacity modeling or thermophoretic deposition, he didn’t know how meth moved through a structure, or why, and therefore didn’t know where to look for it. Therefore, the HI collected random samples exclusively from areas where meth would NOT be expected to be found.

    The Industrial Hygienist, on the other hand, did know how meth was made, did know about fugacity modeling and did understand thermophoresis and did understand sampling theory – he used a sampling theory known as “authoritative judgmental biased sampling.” The Industrial Hygienist walked into the house, and based on a visual inspection knew within a couple of seconds where meth would deposit in that structure, if it were present. Therefore he did not collect random samples but rather, he collected samples exclusively from locations where he knew meth would be found.

    The Home Inspector in the case never got involved in the law suit and was never sued since he properly presented his results within the conctext of his pre-determined data quality objectives.

    We blast phony-baloney “certified meth” fraudsters all the time (see for example: http://www.forensic-applications.com...cal_review.pdf ) and hang them with the samples they have collected. But they only get in trouble because they are behaving in a fraudulent manner – the Home Inspector, failed to find the gross contamination, but did not misrepresent the purpose or the value of his samples, and therefore, no one could level any criticism against his work.

    I would encourage HI s to include meth testing in their services if those services are permitted in your operational standards and liability coverage.

    If you are interested in seeing how Industrial Hygienists in my state must perform their duties, you can find a link to a copy of the State of Colorado regulations from my web site. I was the primary author of the draft language on the assessment protocol that eventually became the regulations.

    I would be happy to answer questions.

    Cheers!

    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (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


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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    Good morning, all –

    I actually encourage HI’s to include meth testing in their services (if your insurance and standards allow). I think HI’s are in an ideal spot to help buyers avoid problems, and to do it for very little money and very little liability to themselves, but great benefit to the client. The caveat is in how the data are presented.

    .

    I would encourage HI s to include meth testing in their services if those services are permitted in your operational standards and liability coverage.


    I would be happy to answer questions.

    Cheers!

    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (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
    Maybe I missed the point of your post, but I'll ask anyway. First, I am not interested in doing testing, but am interested in your perspective since it seems to be contradictory in the way I am reading it.
    You seem to encourage the home inspector involvement but your example clearly indicates the home inspectors sampling was of no benefit to the client even though he presented it correctly so he could not be held liable.

    What purpose would you have to encourage HI sampling for meth if it is likely they will miss the presence of meth. It might be different if they had a strong likelihood of finding a positive since that would alert the client of a potential problem. But 40 "not positive" results would tend to give a false sense of security to the client no matter how well the HI did in presenting the information in order to limit his liability.

    Were you serious or was this a "tongue-in-cheek" response?

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Caoimhín,

    For the HI who did the meth testing although he did everything correctly and stated the results as inconclusive he was still dragged through the legal quagmire. I don't know if this case made it into the courtroom but just the legal costs that he had through the discovery process must have been thousands. Hopefully he had insurance.


    Meth Testing = just say NO

    //Rick

    Rick Bunzel
    WWW.PacCrestInspections.com
    360-588-6956

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Good morning, Rick and Jim –

    My apologies for the ambiguity in my post. Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.

    Although the property went into litigation it was NOT due to the Home Inspector, it was due to the fraudulent activities of the Certified Industrial Hygienist, and a corrupt State Health employee (see our critical review here: http://forensic-applications.com/met...icalReview.pdf )

    The Home Inspector in question was never named in any of the litigation, and never had to deal with any legal fees at all. He simply was involved in the purchase of the property, but he never did anything wrong and never was named in the dispute (in fact, you will see in the above Critical Review, we actually defended his actions).

    In this case, the HI did not provide much assistance, however, I have talked to a number of other HIs who do provide the testing and here is why it is enormously beneficial to your clients: Imagine you determine that you are going to collect one qualitative wipe per every 400 square feet of property – the average property will take between three and four kits. You purchase them for $9 and sell them for $15 each. Your total time collecting the samples adds an additional 15 minutes to your inspection time, and you invoice accordingly.

    One of two outcomes will result.

    None of the kits indicate presence
    At least one kit indicates presence

    At the VERY worst, the client has paid perhaps an additional $75 and is really no worse off than at the beginning of the inspection – BUT if JUST ONE kit indicates presence, that buyer has been potentially spared tens of thousands of dollars in mitigation, and spare potential chemical injury, and spared the anxiety of learning down the road that they have been raising their kids and living in a contaminated property, and now all the belongings are also potentially contaminated.

    So, the down side is small, but the benefits to the buyer are HUGE! And consider this, if the first kit “pops hot,” you’re done. There is no need to proceed with the other kits – hot is hot, is hot. Just one “positive” should be enough to kick the awareness and decision making process up to the next level (it’s not always a bad thing to find a meth-lab, many real estate investors are realizing that finding a meth-lab is a big velvet negotiating hammer, and wielding it in the right hands can result in getting a property on 30 cents on the dollar).

    Now remember of course that you could also just do the real deal, and collect samples for quantitative analysis. In this way, there are no questions of “positive” or “inconclusive” for that sample. If your state allows, your could tell the client, “Yes we found meth present in that sample at 0.000001 µg/100 cm2. (Or whatever you establish as your reportable detection limit). And if you selected a low enough reportable limit, sampling error also becomes negligible, since sampling error increases with increasing reportable limits…. It’s all about data quality objectives).

    The reason I gave the example with the HI with 40 samples was to demonstrate that the sampling error is large and should be a consideration. In our case, when we perform such cursory evaluations, we collect one five-parted composite sample for analysis by GCMS for every 700 square feet. The typical house runs two composite analyses for a total of ten locations sampled. I have performed a little over 310 methlab assessments, and one two occasions, the results were ambiguous; in one case the follow-up sampling indicated trace amounts of meth in the house, and in the other case, the issue was resolved with tighter controls on the QA/QC from the laboratory who had made a minor error (in our case we submit to the labs a “secret” sample with a known amount of methamphetamine to ensure they can recover it, and a blank sample to ensure they don’t report meth when it isn’t there).

    An actual full blown methlab assessment is a pretty extensive process (see http://forensic-applications.com/meth/BluebirdPA.pdf for a (public domain) typical example.

    Just food for thought, guys. With an estimated 8,000 to 12,000 contaminated properties in Colorado alone, and a rising concern, I think you should consider offering the service. Just make sure you are not running afoul of the law in your state.

    Cheers!

    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (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

    Last edited by Caoimhín P. Connell; 10-04-2012 at 10:53 AM. Reason: cuz ma spellun sux.

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    wow lisa

    a dead thread re-opened after thre years--are you a Hi or are you worried about your house and search the inspection forum for an answer

    cvf


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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    WOW,
    Caoimhín has convinced me to not ever waste my time or money to claim to test for meth.
    I have a simple solution. If the house has a strong smell of cat pee, then I tell my buyers "You ought to have this checked out".


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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Charlie,
    One of the interesting and nice things about his forum is that a thread from long ago can be resurrected and resumed with the benefit of the previous postings. Many times members do not really look at the original date of the thread and its last posting, been there done that.

    Other forums block and lock older threads which can make it less flowing of a discussion.


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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Well, dang… I dropped the ball on that one.

    It was my intent to encourage you guys to start sampling for meth.

    (Charlie... You kill me! Are you sure your weren't a cop in an earlier life? I LOVE the suspicious mind! When are you gonna come out on patrol with me? I've got a seat in my patrol car reserved for you...)


    Cheers!
    Caoimhín


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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    ALS Environmental , its cheap and easy. In high drug use areas it should be offered and most like will be declined. Consider it a tool like the mold or lead test for the home buyer, and cover yours in the same way.

    Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    It was my intent to encourage you guys to start sampling for meth.
    Whoa! Meth Lab environments are exceptionally dangerous and residues left behind should be avoided unless you are properly trained and suited up. My advice - if you're in a home with suspected current or past meth lab activity you should immediately pack up your things and leave the building.

    Many law enforcement offices put on programs explaining the hazards of these labs and how to identify signs of them. I suggest that you attend one before you start thinking about any testing.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Morning all!

    Richard –

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Skalski View Post
    Consider it a tool like the mold or lead test for the home buyer, and cover yours in the same way.
    Definitely do NOT consider it like mould. For a start, (in case I have never mentioned it), mould “tests” are ENTIRELY incapable of producing valid results.

    However in the case of meth testing, only the sampling error is high and the quantitative analytical methods are both precise and accurate.


    Eric –

    Your comments are well taken. But let’s break it down a little further.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Whoa! Meth Lab environments are exceptionally dangerous and residues left behind should be avoided unless you are properly trained and suited up.
    Yes, they can be. However, in all probability, in the vast majority of cases, by the time an HI has arrived, bulk of the materials have been scurried away. And in most cases the HI inspector will be looking at an house that has all new paint, all new carpets, new cabinetry etc. That is, the visual clues will usually be gone. Therefore, in most cases, the HI is entering what appears to be either just a dirty run-down house, to a newly renovated house.


    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    My advice - if you're in a home with suspected current or past meth lab activity you should immediately pack up your things and leave the building.
    No argument there – if you have been informed the house was a clan-lab, then I would not advise entry. If upon entry you discover it was a clan-lab, then I would advise leaving.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Barker View Post
    Many law enforcement officers put on programs explaining the hazards of these labs and how to identify signs of them. I suggest that you attend one before you start thinking about any testing.
    This is true – As a law enforcement officer I put on those classes, and I have put on a number of such classes for both ASHI and the other national group. Up until Dec of 2010, I was the primary clan-lab instructor for the Colorado Division of Criminal Justice (CRCPI). It was my job to travel around the state and put on law enforcement sensitive clan-lab classes for cops, and general awareness classes for the public - Unfortunately, we lost our funding to “Critical Incident Training (yawn….) and Human Trafficking.

    So, Eric, you are correct, caution is warranted when you know beforehand, or during, that an house was a clan-lab. However, most of the time, you will not have such knowledge, and you will be in the house anyway –why not test?

    For those of you who may be interested, I have several web discussions on meth-labs including how to recognize one: Recognizing a Methlab as well as a lot of photos on our FaceBook site: Forensic Applications, Inc. - Bailey, CO - Medical & Health | Facebook

    If anyone has been watching the news and heard about the (embarrassing) “study” performed by the National Jewish Hospital (conducted at your expense), that found hazardous mould in marijuana grows, you may be interested in the review we completed yesterday. You can download the review from here: Mould Hazards in Marijuana Grow Operations


    Cheers!

    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (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


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Quote Originally Posted by Caoimhín P. Connell View Post
    For those of you who may be interested, I have several web discussions on meth-labs including how to recognize one
    Caoimhin: I figure that the odds are pretty good that over the years I've been in meth homes but didn't realize it. Guess I've learned to look around the clutter and focus / narrow my attention on home inspecting.

    The first meth presentation I attended was in Kalamazoo, MI. Not only was their information top drawer, I was amazed at how well equipped they are for the meth problem, after all I thought, it was just Kalamazoo, not a "big" city.

    The second class was in nearby Elgin, IL where I learned about the gangs' distribution network and how well developed it was in the collar counties of Chicago. The info was seriously un-nerving.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Over the years, I have seen three places that I suspected possible meth contamination. The general disheveled appearance of the places, more than just clutter, was the tip off. As I am leaving one of them, a neighbor comes over to ask me if I was there to condemn the place for being a meth lab.

    On the other two places, as far as I know, the clients never followed up on my suspicions. One client told me that he was going to paint the place so he wasn't worried. I told him that that wasn't a cure, but it was obvious that he didn't believe me. Both clients bought the houses and I never heard anymore about them. Hmmmm.....that might not be a good sign, now that I think about it.

    Even though a HI should have a disclaimer about not being any kind of meth expert; I can imagine a court still judging that the HI should have had at least some rudimentary knowledge about obvious visual clues (when present). So, I think having some information about what a meth lab or house might look like would fall within the scope of an inspection, even if all you do is express suspicions. You have to be careful walking that legal line of claiming ignorance and what is considered the normal scope of an inspection in your area. The SoP is useful, but the norm for your area might be beyond the SoP.

    I don't see any more downside to doing testing for meth chemicals than saying you smell something that smells like cat pee, as long as you disclose that you are not an expert and further evaluation by appropriate experts should be done.


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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    What are the indicators for a home that had meth smokers only, if any?

    Odour?

    Stains on walls?

    Smokers Paraphernalia?

    Raymond Wand Home Inspection Service
    http://www.raymondwand.ca
    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Quote Originally Posted by Lisa Simkins View Post
    Hi Bruce, what would be the visible evidence of drugs in a meth house, to your knowledge?
    Mouth sores.


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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Quote Originally Posted by David Bertrams View Post
    Mouth sores.
    My guess is that Ray was looking for what evidence the home gives that it may have been a meth lab or hangout....


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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    What are the indicators for a home that had meth smokers only, if any?
    I don't know of any "tells" for just smoke. If they are still living there, a few clues are that they tend to be pigs, serious messes. A huge clue is guys in particular develop obsessions for taking things apart. In the place where the neighbor confirmed that a meth bust had happened, my big clue was a dismantled TV on the living room floor. This TV was completely disassembled with transistors pulled from the boards and all sitting on a spread out newspaper on the carpet. Two bedroom hollow core doors had been ripped in half and were still hanging on the hinges. And all of this in a trashed condo.


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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Good morning, Raymond –

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    What are the indicators for a home that had meth smokers only, if any?
    There are varying degrees of meth abuse; and this is further complicated by varying concentrations of meth on the street. Therefore, there are varying degrees of indicators. Each home will have to be evaluated on its own merits.

    One general comment is certain – “just smoking” meth in an house will contaminated the property to a greater degree than manufacturing. It is possible to manufacture meth in a structure and not contaminate the structure; it is impossible to smoke meth in a structure and not contaminate the structure.

    We have entered some emptied and unoccupied homes and within minutes, without the collection of a sample, can advise the client if the property is contaminated or not. There have also been homes that had I bet on my best guess, I would have lost the bet.

    The only consistent odor that is generally associated with meth use is the odor of filth or squalor. When I stop a car during a traffic stop, I can usually sniff out a meth user faster than I can sniff out a drinking driver.

    Therefore, the only way to know for sure is to test. A HI could collect, say, 10 swabs for quantitative analysis for a 2,000 ft2 structure, and composite the samples into two analyses. The time to take the samples would be about 45 minutes to one hour. The total analytical fees for such a project would typically be about $70 to $80. In the absence of a State or local regulation, I would shoot for an a priori “alert” decision threshold of 0.75 µg/100cm2; and a remediation action level of 1.5 µg/100cm2.

    Cheers!

    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (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


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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    I am going to wake this one from the dead once more. I would be especially interested in Caoimhin's input. I do meth testing for clients as part of my ancillary services, when I am asked to. I am looking for a letter to include with the lab results that addresses what we have talked about here. More precisely, that I am not a expert on this subject and I do not interpret the results. Does anyone have a letter they use or could offer some advice on what to include or not include in letter would be appreciated. Thank You!!

    Tom Rees / A Closer Look Home Inspection / Salt Lake City, Utah

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    Dan Harris's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Rees View Post
    I am going to wake this one from the dead once more. I would be especially interested in Caoimhin's input. I do meth testing for clients as part of my ancillary services, when I am asked to.. Thank You!!
    It looks like Caoimhins a little preoccuiped in a potential libel issue with a couple of nickies finest mold and spelling experts

    Validity of Certified Mould Inspectors - Snake Oil Salesmen?? - InterNACHI Inspection Forum

    Last edited by Dan Harris; 01-21-2013 at 09:08 AM.
    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    The way I see it

    Buy a kit for $9.00

    Sell a kit for $15.00

    So, you make $7.00

    I am assuming the selling of the kit for 15 is all these folks are charging to possibly, and very possibly, get themselves into a world of crap. This is about the most worthless piece of testing and cheapest amount of money to be made than I see in any part of the inspecting business. And, because it has to do with such a huge controversial subject where most people will not want the house if it is contaminated and your findings are just that, your findings. It must be followed up by someone else anyway and your findings provided for that next person who can and probably will keep you in the middle of it.

    If someone wants to test for meth labs I suggest they do not offer it as part of their services but a completely separate service after a home inspection or don't do the home inspection but just the drug residue testing. Then if you do a testing for drugs it will be for hundreds of dollars. That is still not enough for what you are about to be involved in. If the home is cleaned up then do a home inspection if they still want one.

    You want to be in the home inspection business or the drug testing business?

    I would advise anyone that asked me to stay as far away from it as possible. The limited amount of drug residue testings you would do will be extremely minimal.

    The money outlay to learn everything you should know to do this will more than likely never be gained back unless you spent a whole lot more money on a campaign to advertise this new business. 7 dollars doing testing per kit. Give me a....well.enough of that.

    You will not be doing any justice to your client. If they are that concerned they need to spend a whole lot more money that you will ever get on someone like Caoimhín P. Connell

    If they have such a strong idea that the home was used for making drugs then they need to look for or be referred to someone like Caoimhín P. Connell. No ifs, ands or buts. House is cleaned up and they still are interested then do your home inspection.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 01-21-2013 at 02:18 PM.
    Ted Menelly, Castle Home Inspection Services
    www.inspectmycastle.com
    Fort Worth, Keller, Southlake, Plano, Flower Mound, DFW, TX

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    Ken Amelin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    I've learned a lot from reading this post thanks to Caoimhín.

    Reading the post has been informative to me, but has triggered my mind for some additional information - What health effects can arise from exposure to meth residue?? Is it really a big deal? Does it stay in the house forever? What is the treatment for remediation?

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

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    Default Re: Meth Residue Found In House I Inspected

    Good morning, Ken!

    For most contaminants, the contaminant itself is the problem. Thus if one has an asbestos problem, the asbestos is the problem; if one has a lead problem, the lead is the problem.

    Meth is a different beast since if one has meth residue in the house the meth may or may not be the problem.

    Meth, in addition to presenting its own potential health hazards, may indicate a variety of other issues such as health hazards from iodine, lead, mercury, acid residues, phosphine; it may indicate the potential for hidden explosives, hidden syringes, booby-traps, electrical gerry-rigging, structural abnormalities, strange alterations to the ventilation and plumbing.

    A meth-lab can result in a soup of chemical residues that all conspire to present an unhealthy human exposure scenario. Since the compounds are so vastly different, and their exposure potentials are so vastly different, the potential health effects cover the entire spectrum from instant death, to cancer, to a sniffly-nose, and everything in between.

    However, it’s not economically feasible to run around and collect samples and test for all possible contaminants that may have been present in the meth-lab. Therefore, the concentration of the meth is used either to assess the hazard associated with meth [i]per se[/] or it is used as a surrogate indicator-compound to evaluate the efficacy of remediation efforts.

    For example in my state, the regulatory clean-up level is based on a manipulation of 0.5 micrograms per 100 square centimeters of surface area (0.5 µg/100cm2). However, this was not established because it was a “safe” level, and at the time we established the value, we had no information that, say 0.6 µg/100cm2 was hazardous.

    Instead the (unsupported) assumption is this: “If we can clean up the house such that the meth concentrations are below 0.5 µg/100cm2, then we can reasonably believe that we have also cleaned up all other unidentified contaminants in the house.”

    Many compounds have been studies for their toxicological properties, and for virtually all compounds, there is a level (a dose) below which even the most dangerous substance has no effect; this is called the “No Observable Adverse Effect Level.” (NOAEL). A related threshold is the Lowest Observable Adverse Effect Level, or “LOAEL.”

    Dr. Charles Salocks, DABT, with the California Environmental Protection Agency has determined and published a LOAEL for methamphetamine as 0.08 mg/kg/day. This is for a child, for adults, the level is even lower (that is, the infant model is not the most sensitive model, as previously thought). Based on work by the State of California, this toxicological dose can be expected when methamphetamine surface contamination exceeds 1.49 µg/100cm2 in a residence.

    The LOAEL does not take into account the myriad of other compounds that may be present and exclusively applies just to meth itself.

    Remediation is relatively easy. It is a myth that houses need to be knocked down or gutted. We have performed over 325 assessments in meth-related properties. And an house can be easily remediated if done correctly.

    Here is are a few typical examples of scopes-of-work I developed for remediation:

    http://www.forensic-applications.com...lueberryPA.pdf

    http://forensic-applications.com/meth/AuburnPA.pdf

    http://forensic-applications.com/meth/gollaspa.pdf

    Occasionally, fraudulent consultants, or incompetent consultants present fraudulent documents claiming a property has been remediated or tested, when in fact, the work was never done, then we end up with “critical reviews” such as these public domain reports exposing the work:

    http://www.forensic-applications.com...iew_Hooker.pdf

    http://www.forensic-applications.com...cal_review.pdf

    http://forensic-applications.com/met...cal_Review.pdf

    http://forensic-applications.com/met...ance_Audit.pdf

    http://forensic-applications.com/met...eview_Race.pdf

    http://forensic-applications.com/met...icalReview.pdf

    http://forensic-applications.com/met...iewMaxwell.pdf

    Similarly, sometimes, the evaluation will find that no remediation is required, and the property is both safe and compliant with environmental regulations – here are a few examples of that type of an assessment:

    http://forensic-applications.com/meth/GrapePAandDS.pdf

    http://forensic-applications.com/met...andDSFinal.pdf

    http://forensic-applications.com/meth/RiverDrPADS.pdf

    More examples of each, and other kinds of assessments may be found on our web site:

    Colorado Methlab Locations

    Finally: Yes - unless properly addressed these residues will remain for the life of the structure.

    I hope that helps!

    Cheers!

    Caoimhín P. Connell
    Forensic Industrial Hygienist
    Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. - Home

    (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


  35. #35
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    Default Re: Drug use in house...

    25 years ago we bought a one story house that clearly needed huge repairs.

    Inspection basically said “Wow. In a quick look through, I know you need to replace the carpeting, fix the roof, and likely some plumbing. Get rid of the fleas, and I’ll come back and do a more complete inspection. Based on a very quick look, it looks like it’s at least mostly structurally sound, but will not stay that way with the leaking. I also point out that this is the first house I have ever inspected with bullet holes in floors, ceilings, and walls.

    It was such a good deal we bought it anyway.
    In the first visit walking through after closing (after bug bombing everything twice) I was in the middle of a large room and noticed something shiny in the carpet. A pin? Closer look: a used hypodermic needle.
    Now that I know what to look for, I see another… and another.

    Dozens of them... and I’m wearing tennis shoes.

    VERY carefully and slowly walk out, inspecting every spot before I put my foot down.
    We ended up stripping everything out down the the joists, and studs, even the plywood under the particle wood sub floor. With studs and joists exposed we dug out enough embedded .25 and .38 caliber bullets out to fill a coffee mug.

    It was still a good deal.


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