Be alert for hazardous trash, use caution in dealing with it

Herald staff

Methamphetamine production involves the use of caustic solvents and acids, as well as explosive, pressurized chemicals that can severely injure or kill. To protect yourself, your community and children, call the methamphetamine hotline if you see the following, or in situations like these:

  • Combinations of chemicals in unusual or suspicious locations.

  • Unrolled lithium camera batteries, starter fluid, propane bottles and tanks, red-stained coffee filters and empty cold tablet bottles dumped in one place.

  • Meth cooks often dump their hazardous trash by the side of the road, in someone’s yard, or at a campground or picnic spot. If you spot these items, stay as far away as possible. Call police or the meth hotline.

  • Leave suspicious-looking trash alone. A soda bottle may be used to make hydrochloric acid. A mason jar may contain mineral spirits used to keep lithium from exploding when in contact with air. The contents of these containers can kill. Throwing rocks at bottles or shooting garbage with a BB gun can be deadly.

  • Acetone, a paint remover; ether, drain cleaner and lye; toluene, an epoxy solvent; red phosphorus; and hydrochloric acid are other toxic, flammable chemicals meth cooks use for their drug production, and then carelessly discard.

  • Look for homes with blacked-out windows, guard dogs and car and foot traffic coming and going at all hours.

  • Mobile meth labs can be difficult to identify, but suspicious vehicles parked in the neighborhood, in a quiet cul-de-sac or at the park can be cause for concern.

  • Lithium camera batteries used in the production of meth are an environmental hazard. Lithium, a heavy metal, belongs in a toxic waste dump. But meth makers prefer to bury their leftover lithium in the dirt, where it can seep into the ground water and poison well water.

  • Propane bottles and tanks, cylindrical soda-pop dispensers and scuba tanks were never designed to store anhydrous ammonia. These containers can explode if jostled. Stay away from them, and call police if you suspect anything.
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