Sick Family Discovers Their New House Was Previously a Meth Lab

by AdamS on October 3, 2012

When a young Oregon couple purchased a foreclosed home this past summer they thought they had found the perfect place for their family at the unbeatable price of $36,000.  Little did they know that the house they bought was filled with poison. The home that the Hankins family bought had been used as a meth lab before it was foreclosed by Freddie Mac.  Methamphetamine has become a pretty big problem in Oregon with many needing to go to meth rehab and receive meth treatment for their addictions.  The Hankins’ had no idea they had bought a house that was filled with poisonous chemicals until Jonathan, Beth and their 2 year old son, Ezra Hankins all got sick in the weeks following their move to the house.

Invisible Toxins

Shortly after moving into their new house the family began feeling sick.  After a few days the family started to experience problems breathing, Jonathan started experiencing migraine headaches and nosebleeds, while the couples son developed sores in his mouth.  They couldn’t figure out why they were all becoming so ill, until one of their neighbors informed them that the house they purchased was previously used as a meth lab.  The walls of the house were filled with dangerous chemical gases that were slowly poisoning the family.  Methamphetamine is an invisible toxin and if someone isn’t looking for it can be really hard to detect.  When the family finally ordered a contamination kit to test the cleanliness of the air in their home, they found that the toxin levels were almost 80 times more than the legal limit in Oregon.

May Not be an Isolated Incident

The terrible situation that happened to the Hankins family may not be as uncommon as most would believe.  Based on national and state data, there are likely more than 2.5 million homes in the United States that are contaminated with meth.  While most of these will never end up on the housing market before being thoroughly decontaminated, there are still likely quite a few that will slip through the cracks and put families like the Hankins’ in danger.  Only 23 of the 50 states have laws in place that requires sellers to disclose if the property was ever used as a drug lab, meaning that many buyers have no idea that the home they are purchasing could be dangerous to their health.  The best thing people can do when buying a foreclosed home is do a lot of research on the property they are considering.

For the Hankins’ family, they are now living safe in a home that they rented while their meth contaminated property is being dealt with.  Decontaminating a meth lab can be an expensive process that can cost up to $150,000.  In places like Oregon where meth is becoming a real problem and the number of people in meth rehab receiving meth treatment, people need to be careful about the properties they buy.

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