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The Critical Eye!

Michael Leavitt’s professional inspection related blog.

Meth Contamination Makes 3 Girls Dizzy

Meth Contamination Makes 3 Girls Dizzy

1Michael Leavitt 160One of the best things I ever learned in my earliest of schools days was that A+B does not automatically equal C. You would think that I would be all for any news story and video that helps promote meth contamination testing, but I do not. I love it when the reporting is fair and on target, but when it misses the mark and spreads unfounded fear, then it is bad for everybody. I am left to wonder if meth contamination was the actual cause of the long term dizziness suffered by three Western Washington University students who fled their 100 plus year old near college rental home when very low levels of meth contamination was discovered...

Meth found in Washington home after renters felt dizzy

Updated 6:51 pm, Friday, December 6, 2013

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — A health official in northwest Washington state says three college students who began to feel dizzy and lethargic while living for several months in a rental house have been told to move after the home tested positive for methamphetamine.

KOMO-TV reports that Whatcom County Health Department supervisor says the Western Washington University students contacted the department to ask that the Bellingham house be tested.

Hegedus said Friday that an initial health department test found meth contamination well above Whatcom County's legal limit. A second test done by a decontamination contractor came back with an even higher meth reading.

Hegedus says the house was marked "unfit for occupancy" and the owners were told to hire a licensed decontamination contractor, which they did.

Bellingham is about 90 miles north of Seattle.


Rental home contaminated with meth forces tenants to move

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Three Bellingham college students were told to find a new place to live after the house they rented tested positive for methamphetamine, health officials said Friday.
The three students, all of whom attend Western Washington University, had been living in the home at 618 E. Myrtle Street for a couple of months when they began to feel dizzy and lethargic, said Jeff Hegedus, a supervisor with the Whatcom County Health Department. The students contacted the health department to ask that the home be tested, Hegedus said.
"In this case, you had renters who were so concerned that they wanted to spend $100 in a lab to find out if they had meth," he said. "They'd only lived there for two months. They wanted to know, and it's their right as renters."
A team from the health department swabbed walls inside the home using gauze and hexane, Hegedus added. Test results showed meth contamination at 1.3 micrograms per 100 square centimeters. The legal limit in Whatcom County is a fraction of that, at 0.1 micrograms.
A second test - done by a decontamination contractor - came back Thursday at 4.2 micrograms per 100 square centimeters, Hegedus said.
"Goodness gracious. That's incredible. I had no idea," said Olivia Theilemann, who has lived next door to the home for more than a year. "That really surprises me, especially because it was just three normal college girls that lived there."
Theilemann said her neighbors approached her a few weeks ago complaining of symptoms and wondering if she knew anything about the previous tenants. After the test results came back, she remembers them moving out quickly.
"They hightailed it out of there. They were not here long," Theilemann said. "It really surprised me because it was just three girls that lived there before those three girls and they just seemed super normal."
Hegedus said the house was marked "unfit for occupancy" and the owners told to hire a licensed decontamination contractor, which they did. The house will need to be inspected before new residents can move in.
"We get probably 15 or 20 of these (cases) a year," Hegedus said. "It's a significant enough concern that we're out there working with it, supporting people around it, on a daily basis."


Now this article may be good for the meth testing business, unfortunately it is just spreading unfounded fear. Yes, it is important to decontaminate homes with elevated level of meth contaminate, but these readings were so low that it is doubtful that the meth contaminate was the source of the girls’ dizziness. It is a shame that the fuller story was not presented as I would hope that more types of investigations were performed. With nearly 20 years of inspecting under my belt, there should have been many more issues considered. The further investigation could have included carbon monoxide poisoning and mold, long before meth was even considered as the source of dizziness.

But I wonder what your thoughts are about this news story. Have you ever encountered major dizziness from low levels of meth contamination?

Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah - - Michael Leavitt & Co Inspections, Inc.

Do you think it was the meth causing the dizziness, or do you think it was something else?


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