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CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF PUBIC HEALTH’S ROLE IN METH LAB AWARENESS Connecticut Department of Public Health Environmental and Occupational Health Assessment.

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Presentation on theme: "CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF PUBIC HEALTH’S ROLE IN METH LAB AWARENESS Connecticut Department of Public Health Environmental and Occupational Health Assessment."— Presentation transcript:

1 CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF PUBIC HEALTH’S ROLE IN METH LAB AWARENESS Connecticut Department of Public Health Environmental and Occupational Health Assessment Program Sharee M. Rusnak

2 WARNING SIGNS OF A METH LAB Unusual, strong odors (like cat urine, ammonia, and acetone). Residences with windows blacked out. Renters who pay their landlords in cash. Excessive traffic in and out of the residence. Excessive trash such as: -Stained Coffee filters -Antifreeze Containers -Lantern Fuel Cans -Drain Cleaner -Duct Tape

3 WARNING SIGNS OF A METH LAB (Cont) Unusual amounts of clean glass containers Secretive/protective area surrounding the residence (video cameras, alarm system, guard dogs, reinforced doors, electric fencing). Persons exiting the residence to smoke Little or no mail, furniture, or newspaper delivery.

4 HOW CAN PEOPLE BE EXPOSED TO METH LAB CONTAMINANTS? Breathing air containing suspended contaminant particles or harmful vapors Touching contaminated substances: -Bulk chemicals -Surfaces (floors, walls, carpet) -Furniture, bedding, etc. Eating or drinking from contaminated glasses or dishes Eating or smoking with contaminated hands Drinking contaminated well water Touching contaminated soil.

5 HEALTH EFFECTS FROM EXPOSURE TO METH LAB CONTAMINANTS Common symptoms include: - Breathing problems - Respiratory irritation - Skin and eye irritation - Headaches - Nausea - Dizziness High Exposures Include: -Severe lung damage -Skin or throat damage -Damage to other vital organs -Death

6 Health Effects Depends on: -The specific chemicals used -The concentration of chemical used -Length of exposure -Health condition -Route of Exposure (breathing, skin contact,etc)

7 WHAT ARE THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES OF METH LABS? Each pound of meth leaves 5-6 pounds of toxic waste. Residue can contaminate all property surfaces including: -Furniture -Walls -Appliances -Clothing -Carpeting -Floors Leftover chemicals and by products dumped down sink and storm drains and onto the ground, contaminating drinking water wells, septic systems, and soil. Toxic meth by-products persist in environment Expensive cleanup costs

8 CHECK LIST FOR FIRST RESPONDERS Assure all persons in the immediate area removed to a safe area-This may involve evacuation of the neighborhood. Call for fire/hazmat to respond Call US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) immediately at (Hartford), (New Haven), and (Bridgeport) Call the CT Department of Children and Families (CTDCF) hotline at Inform local health department, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (CTDPH) at , and the Connecticut Dept of Environmental Protection (CTDEP) at or DEP-SPILL

9 CHECK LIST FOR FIRST RESPONDERS (Cont.) Establish outer perimeter area, keep out unnecessary persons. Lab ventilation only by certified personnel If you feel any of these symptoms, see medical advice immediately: -Dizziness -Difficulty breathing -Confusion -Burning of the skin, lungs or other mucous membrane

10 DO NOT: Operate electrical devices Stop a chemical reaction Shut off the water supply Smell, touch, move or open containers. Smoke Use flashbulbs. Use special photography strobe equipment that has no possibility of generating a spark.

11 GUIDELINES FOR STAFF FROM OTHER AGENCIES Do not enter contaminated area prior to ventilation, equipment, and chemical shutdown Limiting time on-site Wear protective clothing Take measures to contain and eliminate exposure Avoid transporting contamination Seek medical care if needed

12 SPECIAL CONCERNS-CHILDREN Children are often malnourished, improperly clothed, and neglected. Many of them test positive for meth Children are particularly susceptible because: -Smaller -Vulnerable during critical growth stages -The unborn fetus is most sensitive

13 SPECIAL CONCERNS-CHILDREN (Cont) Health effects (Meth) - Liver damage - Learning disabilities - Developmental abnormalities - Death Officers should call the CT DCF hotline at: May need to be decontaminated Should have a complete physical

14 Clandestine Drug Labs Found in Connecticut and New England 4 in New Fairfield (Meth) -East Hampton (2 Meth) -North Haven (PMA) 2 In Middletown (Meth) -West Haven (MDA) -Norwalk (Meth) 18 Meth Labs in New England in 2005

15 CT DPH ACTIVITIES INVOLVING METH LABS Development of cleanup guidelines Educate local health depts. about meth labs Membership in CT Meth Task Force Presentations/trainings and fact sheets for first responders and child welfare workers

16 CURRENT ISSUES No formal response protocol State/local agencies not communicating with each other DEA not always notifying us Non-disclosure during property transfer

17 CTDPH’s CLEANUP GUIDELINES DEP/DEA will do the bulk cleanup Residual cleanup is the responsibility of the property owner The residual contamination should be carefully inspected and cleaned up according to: CTDPH’s Guidelines for the Cleanup of Former Connecticut Methamphetamine Labs. Sampling not generally emphasized

18 FOR MORE INFORMATION: Connecticut Department of Public Health Environmental and Occupational Health Assessment Program (860) Connecticut Methamphetamine Task Force Bob Brex (860)


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