Although methamphetamine production remains relatively rare in the Washington area, lab busts and incidents are not unheard of.
Meth lab indicators:
— The usual giveaway is a fire or explosion caused by the manufacturing process. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that about 15 percent of meth labs are found this way.
— Strong, unusual odors similar to rotten eggs, cat urine, nail polish remover or ammonia.
— Unusually large amounts of cold medicine that lists ephedrine or pseudoephedrine as ingredients.
— Unusually large number of jars containing clear liquid with a white or red colored solid on the bottom, iodine, red phosphorus, fine red or purple powder, or dark shiny metallic purple crystals.
— Coffee filters containing a white pasty substance, a dark red sludge, or small amounts of shiny white crystals.
— Bottles labeled as containing sulfuric, muriatic or hydrochloric acid, or containers with rubber tubing attached.
— Glass cookware or frying pans with a powdery residue.
— Unusually large amount of camp fuel, paint thinner, acetone, starter fluid, Lye, drain cleaners, or lithium batteries.
— Soft silver or gray metallic ribbon stored in oil or kerosene.
— Propane tanks with fittings that have turned blue.
What to do if you find a meth lab:
— Do not touch anything.
— Do not turn on any electrical power switches or light switches.
— Do not turn off any electrical power switches or light switches.
— Do not eat or drink anything in or around the lab.
— Do not open or move containers.
— Do not smoke in or near the lab.
— Do not sniff anything.
— Decontaminate yourself and your clothing, and wash your hands and face thoroughly.
— Call the police or a DEA district office.