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Family Discovers New Home Was a Former Meth Lab, Caused Their Mystery Illnesses

EMSL Analytical provides testing for methamphetamine and other illicit drugs in environmental samples.


The Hankins family considered themselves lucky when they were able to buy a new home, a foreclosure from government-sponsored Freddie Mac. However, within a few days of moving into the house in Klamath Falls, Oregon, they began experiencing symptoms that included trouble breathing, headaches, nosebleeds, and mouth sores, according to Yahoo News.

The young family was planning a doctor’s visit to find out what might be causing their illnesses when a neighbor informed them that their new home was a former meth lab.

The family immediately ordered an environmental test kit and rushed the results. Their testing revealed a methamphetamine contamination level of 80 times over the limit considered safe by the Oregon Health Authority.

The family did not invest in a professional home inspection before their purchase; even if they had, a standard visual inspection would not have revealed methamphetamine. Laboratory analysis of surface wipe samples is the only way to determine whether a building is contaminated.

Since the family purchased a foreclosed house from the government, they were informed of their responsibility to detect hazards such as asbestos or lead paint. However, the family was never warned by real estate agents or Freddie Mac about former drug activity.

Twenty-three states, including Oregon, require sellers to inform buyers if the building has been used as a drug lab in the past. But in this case, Freddie Mac says that they were unaware of the clandestine methamphetamine production that occurred there.

National and state data indicates that there are nearly 2.5 million methamphetamine-contaminated homes in the United States, but many go unnoticed because methamphetamine residue is difficult to detect.

“Even short term exposure to methamphetamine can pose a great threat to public health, as well as the environment,” states Vince Daliessio, CIH, Project Manager at EMSL Analytical, a DEA licensed laboratory with locations nationwide. “EMSL performs sensitive, quantitative tests for methamphetamine and offers sampling supplies, such as the Meth Wipe Kit, to help home inspection professionals and homeowners test for toxic chemicals.”

For more information on EMSL’s testing services, please contact EMSL at (800) 220-3675, visit, or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.



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