- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 5, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Although Indiana has led the nation in meth busts for the past two years, the state’s home inspectors don’t routinely test for methamphetamine contamination, which can lead to a variety of health problems, according to a newspaper investigation.

With a daily average of more than four meth lab discoveries by law enforcement officials in Indiana, experts say thousands of homes across the state likely have been contaminated by residents making or using the drug, the Indianapolis Star (https://indy.st/1E5AL0I ) reported. But many homeowners aren’t aware of the risk and don’t know meth can be detected through several hundred dollars’ worth of testing.

Although the state’s real estate disclosure form asks sellers specifically about the meth contamination, the law doesn’t require real estate agents to verify their answer through testing. It’s not part of a standard pre-sale home inspection in Indiana or any other state.

An Indiana State Police public database identifying locations of meth lab seizures dating back to 2007 may be helpful to potential homebuyers, but homes and other sites that have been cleaned up to standards set by the state Department of Environmental Management are removed from the list.

Signs of meth contamination aren’t always obvious, and the hazards associated with the drug can linger for months or longer, according to Nick Gromicko of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors. Gromicko said many inspectors offer such testing for an additional fee.

“It’s a growing concern, and not just for prospective buyers,” he said. “Not long ago we had an inspector in Idaho who was hospitalized” after being exposed to meth residue while going through a home.

The presence of meth in a home can lead to severe skin irritation, nausea, diarrhea, body aches, couching and breathing issues, said First Sgt. Niki Crawford, commander of the Indiana State Police meth suppression section. Children, the elderly and people with existing health problems are most at risk.

“Symptoms often mimic the flu,” Crawford said, “but they will not go away.”

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Information from: The Indianapolis Star, https://www.indystar.com


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