UDALL WORKS TO CLEAN UP METH PROBLEM IN COLORADO
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill cosponsored by U.S. Rep. Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) to help communities across Colorado clean up methamphetamine labs and the toxic mess they leave behind. H.R. 365, the Methamphetamine Remediation Act, charges the Environmental Protection Agency with the development of health-based guidelines to assist state and local authorities in cleaning up former meth lab sites.
"Meth labs are often found in residential settings, houses, apartments or hotel rooms. Because the chemicals used in making meth are highly volatile, the toxic residue left behind could threaten the health of whoever should occupy that space next," Udall said. "While some states have already passed laws that require the clean-up of former meth labs, there is no good health-based data to guide that process."
In addition to establishing those guidelines, the bill would also:
· Direct the National Institute of Standards and Technology to consult with EPA in developing technologies to detect meth labs, emphasizing in field test kits for law enforcement.
· Require the National Academy of Sciences to study the long-term health impacts of meth exposure on first-responders and on children taken from meth lab sites.
According to a 2006 National Drug Threat Survey of state and local law enforcement agencies across the nation, meth was named most often as the greatest drug threat in communities.
The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that more than 149 meth labs were seized in Colorado in 2005. According to the North Metro Task Force, thirty to thirty-five percent of seized meth labs are in homes where children reside.
Udall said there is an urgent need for Congress to pass legislation to help law enforcement find, shut down and clean up old meth labs. "Meth destroys lives, it destroys communities, and it particularly harms children. We must do all that we can to address this epidemic in our communities. I came to Congress to assist our communities and this bill will do just that," said Udall.