It’s probably something you’ve never even thought about: the potential danger of picking up discarded bottles or bags of trash. But the ingredients used to cook methamphetamine are so dangerous you don’t even want to touch them. In many cases the so called meth cookers are dumping their trash in parks, on roadways, in ditches or wooded areas.
Yvonne Denson-Agee says she does her part to clean up after litterbugs. Now word of the potential danger of meth trash alarms her. “I never thought anything like that,” says Denson-Agee.
Jefferson County’s drug unit says meth labs pose a huge risk. “We’ve seen them in trailers, in houses, in woods. We’re fighting the good fight,” explains Lt. J.M. Davis. Meth cookers produce a large amount of unusual waste.
Here are some things to look for:
- Two liter or 20 ounce soda bottles with the lids on, quarter of the way full, with a white powdery residue.
- Batteries torn apart.
- Coffee filters with colored stains.
- Empty containers of things like anti freeze, paint thinner, acetone with puncture holes.
- Plastic or rubber hoses.
- Duct tape.
- Blister packs of pseudoephedrine.
- There may also be a strong odor.
“They’re definitely not safe to handle. If they believe at all they’ve found the remnants of a meth lab, call in the experts,” warns Lt. Davis. He says they get calls from joggers and folks walking in wooded areas who stumble upon the trash. Deputies are specially trained to safely dispose of the “trash.”
A word of warning: the chemicals can burn you or potentially explode. Several states warn volunteers in their “Adopt- a- Highway” trash pick- up programs to be careful. You should also monitor children taking part in cleanup efforts.
E.Z. researchers are a safe way to pick-up stuff and you should also use gloves for added protection.