Just because you don't do meth, doesn't mean it can't harm you. Police tell me old meth labs are leaving a new mess for unsuspecting renters and home owners.
They say anyone who stays in a hotel room, rents an apartment or even buys a house should beware, because if methamphetamine was ever produced there, police say your health is in danger.
Paul Berry says his neighbor tipped him off that his St. Charles home used to be a meth house. He confirmed it on the DEA's Clandestine Meth Lab Register.
"I was shocked when I saw it, just absolutely floored," Berry said.
Under Missouri state law, his landlord must tell him.
"I ran across it and saw that the dates were before I moved into the property," Berry said. "We were never notified, and it was not in a copy of the lease."
I left a message for his landlord to get his side of the story.
Franklin County Sgt. Jason Grellner dismantles meth labs for a living and leads the fight against them statewide. He says Paul's problem is a perfect example of how meth affects people who don't even touch the stuff.
"Your chances are probably better than normal that you're going to find house, a property, an apartment where a meth lab has been operated," Sgt. Grellner said.
He warns that almost all have been improperly cleaned.
"During the final (cooking) process, methamphetamine actually goes up in the air, and it settles as a fine dust over everything it touches," Sgt. Grellner said.
He says that dust even seeps into HVAC systems and through drywall. The cost to clean it is staggering.
"The start off level was $7,500 just to start cleaning," Sgt. Grellner said.
"So it's not enough just to take the drugs out of the home?" I asked.
"No," Grellner said. "We placard the door as soon as we leave and say 'enter at your own risk.'"
Something Paul says he did unknowingly.
"How is this affecting your family?" I asked/
"Well the thing is, I have small kids and they've had more illnesses here in this property than they've ever had in their life," Berry said.
"Like what?" I asked.
"Just things like breathing and headaches," Berry said.
Meth labs are documented through the DEA, and of course, with your local police department. Officers say you should check the address before you rent or buy and ask for proof that the meth left behind was remediated.