Most of us have heard about Meth labs found in homes. Have you watch the cable show Breaking Bad? Meth labs leave behind seriously hazardous chemicals in the flooring, walls, ceilings and heating/cooling duct works. These chemicals can cause serious health issues if not removed prior to occupation. These include respiratory issues, kidney problems, headaches and more. Many of these can become chronic conditions.
So how do I recognize the signs that a meth lab has existed in a home. The best way is to simply have it tested. Also, you can check with the County to see if it has been recorded in the registry listing known meth lab locations. However, it is possible for a house to not be recognized as a meth house even though one existed there. I have recently inspected a foreclosed home that revealed multiple clues that brought me to the conclusion that it had very likely been a meth lab at one time. The property had been cleaned up. Several rooms had the drywall removed, all the doors were removed, the entire place had been sprayed white, a heavy black residue coated the interior of the furnace blower compartment, large sections of the heating ductwork had been removed, a toilet was missing (easier to dump the waste), all the original hardwire smoke detectors were missing, the bottom and top of the furnace flue had been removed (a good place to run an exhaust pipe) and the concrete floor had reddish brown stains. Any one of these on its own would not indicate a lab. However, all of them together indicate that a clean-up crew came in and attempted to remove (or cover-up) the evidence of a meth lab.
You may think that the house should be o.k., the place is clean. However, the property was not listed with the county as a know meth lab. Therefore, there is no way to know if all the proper procedures were followed to ensure a safe environment. They clearly did not clean the furnace and duct work properly. There sellers, (a bank), did not disclose the problem. Consequently, to ensure that the house is safe a full assessment must be done on the property. The cost of initial testing would be $500.00 - $1,000.00. Clean-up could be in the 10's of thousands. When looking at foreclosed properties in particular or past foreclosures that have been "flipped", do some research and inspect carefully.