The mountains and valleys of West Virginia. Photo taken from the observation tower at Pipestem State Park.
Great Seal of West Virginia.
Ariel view of Meadowfill Landfill, Harrison County. Earth Day, WV State Capitol, 2006 Electronics collection/recycling event, Home Depot, Teays Valley, WV. The Raleigh County SWA Recycling Center.

Solid Waste Management Board Administration

West Virginia's Latest Environmental Hazard

Methamphetamine Labs

The manufacture of methamphetamine in home labs constitutes a serious and growing environmental problem for West Virginia. These illegal drugs are manufactured out of easily obtainable materials with only the most basic equipment and require little to no training or knowledge of the basic chemistry needed for these processes.  Methamphetamine is manufactured out of a hodgepodge of ingredients employing different techniques for blending the chemicals. No two batches are exactly the same.


According to the National Drug Intelligence Digest, "Independent traffickers manufacturing methamphetamine in clandestine home labs may expose children to abuse, injury and death from hazardous chemicals and laboratory explosions. Medical authorities report the toxic chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamine can cause burns and harm the brain, liver, kidneys, lungs and eyes. Children exposed to these toxins can exhibit aggression, violence, paranoia and hallucinations. They may also develop learning disabilities and behavioral problems."


Methamphetamine labs pose threats of fire and explosion, inhalation of hazardous substances, chemical burns and other immediate risks from direct contact. This applies not only when the lab is in the actual production process but also through the haphazard storage of incompatible chemicals and the indiscriminate disposal of chemical waste. Methamphetamine labs can be set up just about anywhere - in private homes, motels, apartments, trailers, houseboats, farms, vehicles or anywhere else out of the weather and out of sight. 


According to the US Drug Enforcement Agency, clandestine methamphetamine laboratory activity in West Virginia, which has been very high, decreased as a result of state and Federal laws regulating the sale of precursors. Previously, methamphetamine manufacture appeared to be centered in the Panhandle region of the state, but has expanded to include other areas of northern West Virginia as well as some clandestine laboratory sites in the southeastern portion of the state bordering Kentucky and Virginia. In addition, methamphetamine distributors in West Virginia often share Mexican sources of supply with distributors in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley region.


If you suspect someone is operating a methamphetamine lab in your neighborhood, do not go near it - call the police. Once the lab is shut down, the officer in charge should notify appropriate government agencies including the WV DEP at  (304) 926-0465.

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West Virginia Solid Waste Management Board
601 57th Street, SE
Charleston, WV  25304
Phone: 304-926-0448
Toll Free: 866-568-6649
Fax: 304-926-0472