COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Target 13 Investigates visited hundreds of homes, apartments and motels listed as former meth labs. Many of those who lived at the sites didn't know their homes were used as meth labs.
According to the State of Colorado, nearly 400 homes in Colorado Springs, El Paso and Teller counties remain unclean. That is just between 2001 and 2010. In Pueblo, the number of home is 12.
The Meth Disclosure Law states that a seller must tell a buyer if a property was once a meth lab, but it references nothing about renters.
Meth labs, also known as cook houses, are dangerous, but that danger doesn?t end after a lab is busted if the property is never cleaned and verified by the state.
Target 13 Investigates spoke to the Drug Enforcement Agency about its concerns regarding meth. Representatives sent us to National Jewish Health, where an intensive study on meth was conducted.
?If you live in a house where they've cooked meth, nearly every surface in that house is going to be contaminated,? said researcher Mike Van Dyke, PhD.
If the lab was in the kitchen, don't think for a second that is the only contaminated place.
?You would see high exposure even in a remote bedroom maybe 30 to 40 feet from the cook. So, it pretty much went everywhere,? said Van Dyke.
Meth is not cooked in just homes. Pueblo police told Target 13 Investigates a cook can be set up just about anywhere.
?Homes, apartments, hotel rooms and in vehicles,? said Deputy Chief John Ercul.
Target 13 Investigates found several apartments and even hotels on the list.
Some on the list included the Budget Host on 3402 Sinton Road, the Amarillo Motel 2801 W. Colorado Ave., and a series of motels along North Nevada Avenue. They all have rooms in the database, and if the rooms share ventilation, the contamination will spread more easily.
?Meth is probably in more than just that room for sure,? said Van Dyke.
National Jewish Health said the most vulnerable victims are children whether they live in an active meth lab or contaminated home.
?You have children touching these surfaces and a lot of hand to mouth activity, so these kids are going to be exposed to a pretty large dose,? so it is like a kid being on the drug itself,? said Van Dyke.
In some positive news, Colorado Springs and Pueblo police said that in 2010 meth lab numbers were down. Only two properties were added to the El Paso County and one in Pueblo.
Authorities said a person can always check on the status of a home by calling the local health department.
Van Dyke said exposure to meth or a contaminated property could cause respiratory and central nervous system problems.
As for landlords, if a tenant does get sick, and the property is on this list, they can open themselves up to lawsuits.
If you think your property is on the state list by mistake, contact KRDO NewsChannel13 at 719-575-6224.