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Methamphetamine (Meth)

Methamphetamine (Meth)

Methamphetamine contamination is created when a person smokes meth and can be spread by touching contaminated surfaces. The residue is extremely sticky and can be difficult to clean. The result is that residue builds over time and can show up in places where meth hasn’t even been used but transferred through touch.

Meth Residue on Surfaces

Meth contamination in public space, where exposures are typically infrequent and short in duration, does not present significant health risks in most cases, though. Infants and young children are most vulnerable. The places where health risks are higher are generally private residences where meth has been manufactured or used over long periods of time.

Meth residue does not present significant health risks for most groups. Infants and young children are most vulnerable but less so in relation to episodic exposure in public spaces, where momentary touches present little risk. The places at highest risk are generally private residences where meth has been manufactured or used over long periods of time.

Information on Exposure to Methamphetamine

Secondary Exposure to Meth-Contaminated Surfaces

Contaminated surfaces, due to someone who has used meth touching the surface or previously airborne residue that has settled, can expose others through dermal absorption due to skin contact with the contaminated area or through ingestion if hands are then put in mouths without cleaning. The probability of such exposure causing someone to experience symptoms is low, especially in relation to exposure in a public setting.

Because meth is metabolized quickly in the body and expelled within a few days, health risks largely relate to long term, chronic exposures.

If someone experiences a significant level of exposure to meth, they can become ill. In general infants, children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk for complications. However, meth exposure can affect healthy adults too.

Symptoms of meth exposure may include:

  • Watery, red, and burning eyes, often accompanied by discharge and pain
  • Irritation of the mucus membranes, especially in the nose and throat
  • Skin irritations, redness, and rashes
  • Chest pain and difficulty breathing
  • Abdominal pain and diarrhea
  • Chronic sneezing, coughing, and congestion
  • Adverse effects on the central nervous system
  • Moderate or severe headaches
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Yellow jaundice
  • Fever
  • Impairment in mental capabilities
  • Hallucinations

Boulder County Main Public Library & Methamphetamine Use

Learn about Methamphetamines

Clean-up of Methamphetamine-Affected Properties

Working under the methamphetamine cleanup guidelines and regulations developed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Boulder County Public Health is working to ensure the safe cleanup of methamphetamine-affected properties in Boulder County.

If you learn that your property has been used for the manufacturing of methamphetamine, please visit the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) website for guidelines on testing and cleanup of methamphetamine affected properties.

Owner responsibility

When methamphetamine contamination is found above the cleanup levels established in the Colorado Board of Health Regulation No. 6 CCR 1014, Cleanup of Methamphetamine-Affected Properties, then the property is deemed a Methamphetamine-Affected Property.

When a property has been identified as a Methamphetamine Affected Property, there are a number of obligations that the property owner, must meet per:

  • Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) §25-18.5 Illegal Drug Laboratories
  • Colorado Board of Health Regulations 6 CCR 1014-3, Cleanup Of Methamphetamine-Affected Properties
  • Boulder County Ordinance No. 2006-1 An Ordinance Concerning Cleanup of Methamphetamine Laboratories.

Per the above regulations, property owners are required to:

  1. Prevent entry into the property by any individual, unless they are properly trained and have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to do so.
  2. Hire a State certified consultant to conduct a full preliminary assessment of the property.
  3. Hire a State-certified contractor to conduct cleanup of the property in accordance with the requirements of the Colorado Board of Health regulation, or demolish the property.
  4. Hire a State certified consultant to conduct clearance level sampling of the remediated property.
  5. Submit the final clearance report to the Governing Body, as defined in CRS §25-18.5-105(1) and (2), which includes Boulder County Public Health at 3450 Broadway St, Boulder, CO 80304, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Testing & Cleanup

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment certifies and maintains a list of consultants and contractors that are certified to test and remediate meth-affected properties in Boulder County.

Boulder County Public Health relies on the expertise of certified consultants to evaluate the extent of contamination within a structure, and the potential spread of contamination to other units within a multi-unit structure.

Please contact Boulder County Public Health at 303-441-1564 should you have additional questions regarding testing or remediation of your Methamphetamine-Affected Property.

If you suspect methamphetamine manufacture or use, please contact local law enforcement or the Boulder County Drug Task Force at 303-441-4444.

Ordinance, Regulation, Statutes

In 2007, the Boulder County Commissioners adopted ordinance No. 2006-1 to help ensure the public is not unnecessarily exposed to methamphetamine. Methamphetamine-affected properties pose significant risks to public health. Boulder County Public Health works closely with other local agencies and community members to ensure that the cleanup of methamphetamine-affected properties in Boulder County meets existing public health standards.


We can all take steps to help curb the meth problem before it enters our community.

Property Managers

Property managers can prepare themselves for the best possible renters by:

  • Conducting background checks and verifying rental history, employment history, and criminal background
  • Meeting face-to-face with potential renters
  • Speaking with neighbors once the property is rented.
  • Checking in from time to time to look for unusual activity.


Prospective homebuyers can make sure their homes are a healthy, meth-free investment by:

  • Researching a property’s history before purchasing
  • Hiring a state-certified contractor to conduct a meth screening level or preliminary assessment
  • Using Boulder County Public Health as a resource: 303-441-1564

Property Owners

Ensure that no one is exposed to health risks as you are remediating your methamphetamine-affected property by:

  • Following State regulations for the remediation of methamphetamine contaminated properties
  • Using Boulder County Public Health as a resource: 303-441-1564.

When it comes to meth contamination, with its significant short- and long-term health impacts, prevention is always the best approach.

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