hotelHere’s a scary thought: the hotel room you just checked into may have been used as a meth lab by its last occupants! There could be chemicals and meth residue on counters, faucet handles, door knobs, sinks, or anywhere!

In Indiana, some hotels have had rooms used as meth labs. A few people have been caught, or the problem might not have come to light. And these are NOT trashy, run down hotels on the “wrong” side of town, that you would see in some B-movie late at night. These actually are nice hotels, that any family might pick to stay in on a road trip or for a weekend stay.

The manufacturing of meth is a nasty business. The ingredients to make meth are highly toxic, corrosive, and/or flammable. They include ammonia, lithium, hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, pseudoephedrine, sodium hydroxide, toluene, chloroform, alcohols, ethers, and acetone. Some of these chemicals can be directly absorbed through the skin, let alone by breathing them. If you worked with these chemicals at your job, OSHA would require you to wear personal protective equipment such as chemical resistant gloves, respirators, goggles, face shields, and sometimes even a full hazmat suit.

Small Batches Easily Made

Some anti-social people have made things worse, by coming up with ways to make small batches of meth with simple equipment. They can make less than 2 ounces at a time in about 30 minutes by mixing or shaking ingredients in containers like 20 ounce plastic soda bottles. This equipment is obviously portable, and could be easily smuggled into a room in bags, suitcases, backpacks, or other luggage. In some states, these plastic bottles used for making meth have later been found discarded on the side of the road, containing toxic or flammable chemicals. Some areas now warn that if you find a discarded soda bottle with an unknown substance in it, report it to the police.

Imagine this: your local meth makers pull into the hotel, and unload their suitcases and duffle bags filled with chemicals and apparatus. They check in, and then have a lovely weekend cooking up a batch of meth, while also spending some time next to the pool working on their tan (meth heads are usually kind of pale and zombie looking), and enjoying a fine continental breakfast before they leave in the morning. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Of course, there may be some nasty chemical or meth residue coating the fixtures, walls, and floors, but don’t worry about that! The next time you enter a hotel room, that chemical smell may not be the disinfectant used by the cleaning staff! Perhaps the cleaning staff in hotels should now be warned of possible meth manufacturing equipment ending up in the trash in the rooms they are cleaning.

Physical Effects of Meth Exposure

Some of the effects of being exposed to a meth lab include breathing problems, chest pain, skin irritation, dizziness, and a burning sensation to the eyes and skin, poisoning, lung irritation, damage to the liver, kidneys, heart, brain, and immune system; cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia; bone marrow suppression resulting in anemia and increased risk of infections; and developmental and growth problems.

It might be worth it, the next time you are going to check into a hotel room, that you make sure of the quality with which the room has been cleaned! When you go away for the weekend and check into a room, your thoughts should be on relaxing, not about whether the last person checked into the room was making meth!