Bulletin: Beware Meth Lab Waste

Volunteers who clean up roadside litter are being urged to watch for potentially toxic debris discarded from methamphetamine labs.

Meth is a highly addictive stimulant that can be made using household chemicals and equipment and common cold remedies containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.

Clean-up crews who come across materials used to make the drug can be burned, or their lungs damaged from inhaling fumes. If you encounter any of the signs of a meth lab, leave the area immediately and call MDOT or the police. Do not touch anything if you suspect it may be meth lab waste. The waste can be extremely dangerous and may even be booby-trapped. Entire labs can be found in tool boxes, coolers, or other storage containers. Mobile meth labs are becoming more common. Labs are sometimes run out of car trunks and RVs.

Clues indicating a dumpsite include:

  • empty bottles attached to a rubber hose,
  • the smell of ammonia,
  • coffee filters stained red or containing a white powder residue.
  • garbage bags with cat litter (can contain deadly gases and are sometimes called "death bags
  • corroded propane tanks
  • empty or used alcohol products
  • numerous empty cold medicine and diet pill bottles or blister packs
  • unused matches without striker plates.

(A printer-friendly version of this warning and list is available.)

Don't try to remove unknown or suspected toxic substances. Notify MDOT or the police of the location of these items immediately.

 

Meth lab waste is very serious. Your safety comes first!