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Nature of Clandestine Laboratories and Health Risks John Howell – Senior Scientist Environmental Health Nature of Clandestine Laboratories and Health Risks John Howell – Senior Scientist Environmental Health Directorate

Presentation Content § § § Illicit Drug Production Contamination Process Health Effects Environmental Effects Presentation Content § § § Illicit Drug Production Contamination Process Health Effects Environmental Effects Q&A

Production Process § Can occur in many places around premises & elsewhere: § Kitchen, Production Process § Can occur in many places around premises & elsewhere: § Kitchen, laundry, bathroom, common rooms, bedrooms § Garages, sheds, backyard § Bush blocks, vacant land, motel/hotels, vehicles § Useful to have water, electricity, sinks/drainage, ventilation, sealed working areas

Contamination Process § Contamination arises from aerosol production, spillage & waste disposal § Spillage/waste Contamination Process § Contamination arises from aerosol production, spillage & waste disposal § Spillage/waste is often obvious § Aerosol deposition especially meth is often inconspicuous & pervasive § Even only a few small Nazi/birch reactions may lead to surface contamination of well beyond immediate area § Meth contamination can continue for years

Range of Chemical Hazards § Toxic gases produced that can cause death or injury Range of Chemical Hazards § Toxic gases produced that can cause death or injury (phosphine is the most deadly) § Flammable chemicals used in process § Corrosive chemicals such as hydrochloric and sulfuric acid used for extraction § Chemicals may condense on surfaces § Unknown hazards from meth by-products

The Nazi or Birch Reduction Method § § Most common method in WA Quick, The Nazi or Birch Reduction Method § § Most common method in WA Quick, inexpensive, simple & portable Get everything from a hardware store Utilises caustic soda, sulphate of ammonia, LPG, solvents, lithium metal § Generates anhydrous ammonia, hydrogen chloride gas, toxic reaction waste § 30 minute process

Human Exposure § Mainly concerned about house occupants, or frequent visitors § Toddlers particularly Human Exposure § Mainly concerned about house occupants, or frequent visitors § Toddlers particularly vulnerable due to hand-mouth activity, ongoing presence & physiology § Also other children, pregnant women, & infirm § Exposure thru dust gas inhalation & inadvertent ingestion § Usually long term exposure the problem tho occasionally acute eg operator burns, deaths

Short Term Effects § § § § § Increased alertness Increased blood pressure, pulse Short Term Effects § § § § § Increased alertness Increased blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate paranoia intense high hallucinations violent behavior loss of appetite acne type sores Convulsions Enlarged pupils Increased feeling of self confidence, well being Sense of power / superiority Increased energy Inability to sleep Hyperactivity Anxiety Irritability Panic attacks

Long Term Effects § § § Fatal kidney & lung disorders brain damage depressions Long Term Effects § § § Fatal kidney & lung disorders brain damage depressions hallucinations violent & aggressive behavior severe schizophrenia

Other Human Hazards § § § § Electricity Fire/Explosions Trip hazards Needles Structural Animals Other Human Hazards § § § § Electricity Fire/Explosions Trip hazards Needles Structural Animals Operators

Environmental Hazards § Can be in backyard, vacant land, bush areas § May be Environmental Hazards § Can be in backyard, vacant land, bush areas § May be surface but leaching into soil, septics & groundwater possible § May affect environment or people directly tho usually a lesser concern than residential

Questions and Comments Questions and Comments