House Passes Bill Aiding Methamphetamine Clean up
Congressman Matheson said that help cleaning up toxic meth labs in local communities took a big step forward today. Matheson is a cosponsor of the Methamphetamine Remediation Act of 2007 (H.R. 365) that passed the House overwhelmingly Wednesday.
"Every law enforcement agency in Utah is grappling with the epidemic of meth use and meth trafficking. One dangerous aspect for officers and neighborhoods alike is shutting down and cleaning up old meth labs," said Matheson. "Not only does this drug devastate the 'user', its production threatens the health of first responders and innocent bystanders."
Matheson said that the chemicals used in meth production are known health and environmental hazards. Toxic residue and fumes are left behind in the carpet, walls, and furniture of any dwelling in which the drug was "cooked." That pollution can harm the health of unsuspecting people who later inhabit the dwelling.
The bill requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop model, voluntary, health-based clean-up guidelines for use by states and localities to ensure that former meth labs are safe and livable. The legislation authorizes the National Institute of Standards and Technology to initiate a research program to develop meth detection equipment for field use. It also requires a study by the National Academy of Sciences on the long-term health affects on children rescued from meth labs, and on first-responders exposed to the scene.
Matheson said the measure is supported by the National Sheriff's Association, the National Association of Counties and the National Association of Realtors.
The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.