KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The new way addicts are cooking meth are making it dangerous for unsuspecting homebuyers. Some only discover drug residue in their new homes after their family becomes sick.
Popular cold medicine containing the key ingredient for meth, pseudoephedrine, has been limited by the law since 2005. In the last couple years, Kansas City Police have started to see addicts stock up in different ways to get around the law. Now, they're using friends and family members to feed their addiction.
"They've created a smurfing network," KCPD Sgt. Tim Witcig explained. "They run around and grab pills. They get people to buy ephedrine pills for them."
Witcig created his own mobile meth lab to demonstrate the dangers of a new, popular method to cook the drug.
"Now with the shake and bake model where they are using a 20-ounce soda bottle, they don't need that heat source," he said. "The chemical reaction does it all on its own."
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That reaction can leave a hidden hazardous residue in a home.
Kyle Gunion's business started out just cleaning up after mold, asbestos and lead. In the last year, Kansas City's Titan Environmental Services decontaminated seven homes containing meth residue around the country. Next week, they'll be cleaning up a residence in the St. Louis area.
"There could be a lot of things to actually remove and demo from the home. We always have to take out carpet and pad, always," Gunion said. "Popcorn ceiling, we always have to scrap it off."
Gunion trained his employees through Crisis Cleaning based out of Indiana. Owner Donetta Held wrote a book about meth decontamination. She said homebuyers need to check police reports and talk to neighbors before buying that new house.
"The building inspectors do not provide meth testing. They do termites and they do building structural, but they don't test for meth," she explained.
One homeowner had them come in even though a police dog didn't detect meth residue.
"The police who had investigated it said they brought over their police dog, and they went through the whole house sniffing into cabinets and corners and the walls and the police dogs didn't point to anything," Held said. "When we came out and went ahead and tested the property, it was highly contaminated for meth even though it was painted, so that let us know a police dog cannot detect meth residue in a home."
In Kansas and Missouri, home sellers and realtors don't have to disclose if the property they have on the market was once a meth lab.
Find out how to test your home for meth residue at www.crisiscleaning.com