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Health risks for people living near meth labs

By Lyndsey Price, lprice@wcyb.com
Published On: Jul 11 2013 09:51:17 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 11 2013 12:42:18 PM CDT
meth affects
BRISTOL, Tenn. -

With all the recent discoveries of meth labs around our region we wanted to know just how dangerous these labs can be for people living around them; there have also been many children found inside homes where meth is being made.

In a week's time, Sullivan County sheriff's deputies found 50 bottles used to make meth inside a home, along with a marijuana growing lab and a moonshine still. "There is health concerns no question about that," said Elizabeth Brown, who lives near a discovered meth lab.

Brown lives just a few houses down from where the meth, marijuana, and moonshine were found. After the discovery, she tells us she's worried about her health and her neighbors' health. "I'm concerned and I'm also concerned about the fumes and things that we breathe that we probably weren't even aware that we were breathing them," adds Brown.

We've learned Brown has a good reason to be concerned because the fumes could affect neighbors, depending on a few factors. For example, how much space is between the homes and, if you live in an apartment or townhouse, what's between your wall and their wall. "It also depends on how much is being made how many chemicals are there, exposure time; it all has to be factored in," says Dr. John Daniel.

What about children found inside the homes? Wellmont Urgent Care doctor John Daniel says little ones are a different story. "It's the same risk as the meth user because they're immediately exposed to the chemical components that are being made," adds Daniel.

We asked Dr. Daniel about side effects kids inside these homes could face. "They can have meth mouth, the whole nine yards of weight loss, mood changes," says Daniel.

Meanwhile, Brown tells us after hearing what these chemicals can do to innocent bystanders, she says she will be keeping a closer eye on her neighborhood. "If I see any of that, I'm going to say something. I don't want it here," adds Brown.

Police tell us they have been receiving more tips from the public about suspected meth labs. They say that's important to be able to bring an end to the meth problem and they ask the community to work with them.