Anthrax decontamination foam also used to fight meth

A decontamination foam developed by Sandia National Laboratories, which was created over a decade ago and was used to decontaminate buildings during the 2001 anthrax attacks, is now being used to decontaminate methamphetamine labs.

Mark Tucker, a co-creator of the original decontamination foam, said that the foam renders all types of biological and chemical agents harmless. Tucker is a chemical engineer in the company's chemical and biological systems department.

"For structures contaminated with meth, owners have two choices: demolish it or reclaim it," Kevin Irvine, the vice president and general manager at EFT Holdings, which licenses the Sandia formulation, said.

The company sells the foam under two names, Crystal Clean, which is intended for meth cleanup and EasyDecon DF200, which is certified against biological and chemical agents. The two products have an identical formula but are marketed for different purposes.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Clandestine Meth Lab registry shows thousands of locations in the country where law enforcement agencies have found paraphernalia and chemicals relating to secret drug labs or dumpsites.

"Property owners are often liable for expensive cleanup costs since most insurance companies won't pay for cleanup related to methamphetamine, viewing damage resulting from meth labs as arising from a criminal act," Irvine said. "That means that property owners and landlords are often left holding the bag for the cost of remediating a residence or business contaminated as a result of meth cooking."

The chemicals used to cook meth and its byproducts can produce toxic fumes that can lead to short- and long-term health problems. The decontamination foam is able to leave meth non-detectable, which can both save on expensive labor costs and prevent future inhabitants of the site from having health problems.