'Breaking Bad'-style clean-ups now a thriving industry in US
Published 28/12/2013 | 02:30
TENS of thousands of American houses have been used as methamphetamine labs over the past decade, and an industry is developing around cleaning them up.
Many Americans are aware of the production of the highly addictive drug, thanks to 'Breaking Bad', which featured a chemistry teacher who turned into a meth cooker and dealer.
In real life, clean-up contractors deal with a property when a batch explodes or police raid an operation and shut it down.
However, some homeowners are often reluctant to pay thousands of dollars to make a property safe, so many houses don't get cleaned for years, exposing residents and sometimes even neighbours to harmful chemicals. Many insurance policies do not cover meth clean-up.
To make a meth home safe, a certified contractor must remove and replace all contaminated materials, from walls to carpet to air conditioning vents.
Next, a certified "industrial hygienist" tests the home to gauge whether it can be lived in or needs more cleaning.
Despite laws requiring landlords to disclose if meth has been made on a property, experts say such disclosures often don't happen.
About 25 states have laws related to meth clean-up. Some states, such as Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, place meth homes on quarantine lists.
Some properties on Tennessee's list date to 2006, underscoring the years it often takes for some properties to be cleaned.
Clean-up costs can range from $3,000 (€2,177) to $25,000 (€18,145), depending on the home's size and the amount of contamination.