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Meth Contamination

On the Subject of “Meth” Contaminated Items

There has been some concern about exposure and handling of items that might have been exposed to “Meth” – it seems at this stage there are no official methods for dealing with these situations.

Discussion within the Committee has brought up a couple of things worth sharing.

It was generally felt that at this stage without a standard testing procedure to determine if a house and contents are contaminated it would be hard to put any guidelines in place and apparently, many of those working in the industry have probably already had some contact with P contaminated items.

Supplier Rep and committee member Patrick Girvan offered this article he came across, which might help allay some fears and help you decide on a course of action.

Google says:

. . . the National Jewish Hospital, did a study to determine if clothing could be washed sufficiently after exposure to meth smoke to be safe to wear. They exposed pieces of denim and a cloth used in baby blankets to fumes from meth until they were contaminated with meth residue far beyond what would be found from real life situations. They washed the cloth in a regular washing machine and dried them outside. I assume that the dryer would be contaminated and the washer machine would not. After a single washing the residue was reduced by 99.4%. After 2 washings the contamination level was low enough that they saw no health risk in wearing the cloth. After 3 washings they found a 99.8% reduction in contamination. They projected that the remainder of the meth in the cloth would eventually be washed or worn away. 

One mother who called had $1200 in new clothing for her child, from a relative who lived in a meth house, stored in plastic bags. She didn’t want to destroy them but found no guidance. The National Jewish study found that clothing made of cloth can be washed repeatedly and used. Bleach was not used in the study although it is assumed that this would remove more meth residue more quickly. After washing clothes contaminated with meth you can run a cycle for a full load with nothing in the machine but bleach and soap. Run the rinse cycle an extra time with plain water. Don’t use a dryer. Hang all clothing outside to dry. Clothing made of leather and other non-porous material will be much harder to clean. 

We hope this is of some help – remember in the end it is up to each drycleaner to make their own call in any giving situation – if you want to clean any items, then do, if not – don’t.