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Master's Culminating Experience

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The use of methamphetamine as a drug of abuse in the United States has skyrocketed in recent years, with much of the drug being manufactured in primitive makeshift laboratories clandestinely located in residential dwellings. The contamination of these environments with methamphetamine, its precursors, and its by-products can be severe. Often, after being contaminated, these dwellings are re-occupied by people unaware of the former use as a methamphetamine production site, and unaware of the contaminant load they now find themselves living in. This paper discusses the extent of contamination of the lab area and how this contaminant loading may affect the health and well-being of those living in these environments. An attempt to correlate varying contaminant loading levels to health risks posed to the occupants is made. Mitigating the health risks to these inhabitants is a major thrust of this paper. While most states do not have regulations specifically addressing the issue, some have made varying attempts to protect their citizens with codified cleanup methodologies and standards. A comparison of a representative sample of state efforts is presented, and from these comparisons it is hoped that the reader can glean best practices that may apply to their situation. There also have been several federal efforts developed to combat the problem as well, which are discussed. Finally, a discussion of the challenges to developing an absolute cleanup standard is presented, shedding light on additional research that could be done to fill in knowledge gaps on the subject.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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