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Environmental Epidemiology Program

Frequently Asked Questions about Methamphetamine Cleanup

Presedence of Information

This information is provided to clearify decontamination requirements found in Utah Rule 392-600 (Illegal Drug Operations Decontamination Standards). However, the rule take presedence over any information provided here.

(Q) What should I do if I or someone I know is experiencing health effects and I think it is caused by exposure to methamphetamine?

(A) Contact your health care provider and work with them to get a health assessment. If the effects are serious or are a life-threatening emergency, call 911 for immediate assistance. If your health care provider is unavailable, the Utah Poison Control Center at (800) 222-1222 may be able to help.

(Q) Can you tell me if a property has been contaminated or cleaned up?

(A) No. The state does not maintain records of current or past properties or of properties with confirmed or suspected contamination. Some local health departments have records and may be able to share them with you. Each local health department has its own ordinances regarding collection, maintenance, and release of records on property contamination and decontamination. You will need to work with your local health department to find out what records are available and can be released.

(Q) What should I do if I suspect I am being exposed to methamphetamine while at work?

(A) You can contact the Utah Labor Commission, Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Utah OSH) at (801) 530-6901, if you have concerns about occupational health and safety violations or risks. If you think a crime is being committed, you should work with your employer and work policies to report your suspicions to the local law enforcement agency.

(Q) My laboratory analysis report has two results per sample, which one do I use?

(A) If the sample was a composite sample, some (but not all) labs return two results. One result will be the total amount of methamphetamine found in the sample. The units associated with that result might look like "μg/sample" (read as micrograms of contaminant per sample). Don't use that result. If there are multiple results, the other result will have units that are "μg/100 cm2" or "μg/100 sqcm" (read as micrograms per 100 square centimeters). This is the result to use.

(Q) What do my results mean?

(A) If the results are greater than 1.0 μg/100 cm2, the owner of the property has a legal obligation to decontaminate the property. If the results are equal to or less than 1.0 μg/100 cm2, the owner has no legal obligation to decontaminate the property. However, the owner may choose to voluntarily decontaminate it.

(Q) If my results are less than 1.0 μg/100 cm2 do I have to do anything?

(A) Decontamination is not required by state rule if all test results are equal to or less than 1.0 μg/100 cm2. The owner may choose to voluntarily decontaminate based on lower result values.

(Q) If the results are less than 1.0 μg/100 cm2, what will exposure do to me or a tenant?

(A) Probably nothing. The exposure models we use are based on the most-at-risk class of people and include several levels of protective adjustments. For more information see our page on How the Decontamination Standards Was Set. The decontamination standard used in Utah is based on a limited amount of scientific data. We do not know for certain what the overall lifetime risks are for long-term exposure to small amounts of methamphetamine. We review and adjust our models periodically to incorporate new information that has become available.

(Q) What if some of my results are greater than 1.0 μg/100 cm2 and others are less than 1.0 μg/100 cm2?

(A) Any result that is greater than 1.0 μg/100 cm2 triggers the requirement for decontamination. The rule allows for part of the structure to be decontaminated. This option requires considerably more testing. In some cases, more testing may be preferable to decontaminating the whole structure. We recommend you work with your certified decontamination specialist to identify what options work best for you.

(Q) Is there any way to tell when the dwelling became contaminated?

(A) A single battery of test results cannot determine when a dwelling became contaminated. Test results alone should not be used to try to identify which occupant caused the contamination.

(Q) Do I have an obligation to disclose?

(A) We can only address health questions. Since disclosure is a legal question, we cannot provide an answer. We have provided the link to disclosure requirements as a service. We recommend you work with your realtor to determine your legal obligations for disclosure.

(Q) How much does testing and decontamination cost (or how much should it cost)?

(A) We can only address health questions. We recommend you work with your certified decontamination specialist to determine the best financial solution for you. You may want to talk to several specialists before making a decision.

(Q) Can you recommend where to get a test kit?

(A) No. Making a recommendation could be seen as an endorsement of one business over another. The government should not make endorsements of private businesses. We recommend working with a certified decontamination specialist for testing.

(Q) Can you recommend a certified decontamination specialist?

(A) No. Making a recommendation could be seen as an endorsement of one business over another. The government should not make endorsements of private businesses.

(Q) Where can I find a list of certified decontamination specialists?

(A) The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (UDEQ) Clandestine Drug Lab Cleanup Program maintains a regularly updated list of certified decontamination specialists.

(Q) Can the state do testing and decontamination activities?

(A) No. Our small staff lacks the right kind of training and equipment to do field work. Our role is to administer the Utah Administrative Rule R392-600 (Illegal Drug Operations Decontamination Standards) and to provide consultation when needed.

(Q) Can the state pay for or reimburse the costs of testing and decontamination?

(A) No. The property owner is responsible for the costs of testing and decontamination.

(Q) What if I suspect someone is using or making meth (in a property I own or another property)?

(A) Contact your local law enforcement agency if you suspect a crime is being committed.

(Q) Can the state take a report of a property that is or might be contaminated with methamphetamine?

(A) No. The state does not collect or maintain any records of properties that are, have been, or suspected to be contaminated with methamphetamine. The state does not maintain any records of of properties that have been decontaminated. Work with your local health department to report a property.

(Q) Should I buy a house that is contaminated with methamphetamine?

(A) If any test result exceeds 1.0 μg/100 cm2, the home must be decontaminated before a transaction can occur. The current home owner should work with their local health department or a certified decontamination specialist to complete the decontamination process. If all test results are equal to or less than 1.0 μg/100 cm2, decontamination is not required by the state. Some banks will not provide a loan when there are any positive tests, unless decontamination has first occurred. The seller and buyer should work with their realtor(s) to determine what course of action needs to be taken. It is up to the buyer to determine how much risk they are willing to take when purchasing a home.

(Q) If I am a renter and I suspect my home has been contaminated, what can I do?

(A) Use the Utah Fit Premises Act (Utah Code Title 57, Chapter 22) as a guide on how to proceed. Pay particular attention to Section 6. If your income is low you may be able to get legal assistance from the Utah Legal Services. You can call them at (801)328-8891 if you live in Salt Lake County or at (800)662-4245 if you live outside of Salt Lake County.

(Q) Why is Utah's decontamination standard set at 1.0 μg/100 cm2 when other states are set at 0.1 μg/100 cm2?

The Utah standard was set after modeling risk and balancing several governmental equity requirements. Not all states have adopted a risk modeling approach or have the same governmental requirements to consider as Utah. For a detailed explanation, see the page on How the Decontamination Standard Was Set.

(Q) How do I become a certified decontamination specialist?

(A) The Utah Department of Environmental Quality administers the Decontamination Specialist Certification Program. They can be reached at (801) 536-4400.

 

 

 

Last Reviewed and Updated January 30, 2019