How to Identify a Methamphetamine (Meth) Lab

How to Identify a Methamphetamine (Meth) Lab

A clandestine drug laboratory becomes an emergency immediately upon discovery. Call 911 immediately or the Boulder County Drug Task Force at 303-441-4444.

There are many possible ways to identify a methamphetamine (meth) lab.

Unusually Strong Odors

  • Cat urine
  • Ether
  • Ammonia, acetone, other chemicals, or strong scent of fuel

Suspicious Behavior

  • Windows blacked out
  • Payment in cash
  • Lots of traffic (at unusual times, night time)
  • Excessive trash, including beakers, duct tape, or neon-stained coffee filters
  • Large amounts of over-the-counter drug containers, including products containing ephedrine or pseudophedrine such as Sudafed. This is usually evident by the number of empty blister packs in the trash.
  • Unusual amount of clear glass containers

WARNING: Never open a trash bag to try to identify the contents! Inhaling the toxic gasses associated with Meth lab waste can be very dangerous, even fatal.

Damage to Property

  • Discoloration of walls, especially brown iodine stains
  • Corroded gas canisters.
  • Excessive amount of trash that includes numerous Coleman fuel or HEET containers

Reduce Your Risk

  • Do not enter an apartment or other structure that may house a meth lab. Meth labs are very hazardous, potentially explosive environments.
  • Do not approach tenants if you suspect they are producing meth. Use of or exposure to meth may cause paranoia and violent behavior.
  • Do not open trash or other containers that may contain meth materials. A bag of meth by-products can be fatal if inhaled directly.
  • Industrial Air Quality Inspectors

Contact Us

Air Quality Program

Main: 303-441-1564
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