Meth decontamination process

Libraries around the state are being forced to close due to meth contamination, but Mesa County is clean for now.
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 8:13 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Libraries are temporarily closing around the state--the culprit is methamphetamine.

Colorado Springs, Denver blames it on a ripple effect; find it in one library, and others start to look.

“We talked about it as a library because clearly, it was something that was going on with other libraries, and then we reached out to health authorities,” said Bob Kretschman, Mesa County Libraries communications manager.

Mesa County Libraries concluded there’s no reason to test for meth contamination. It turns out the state doesn’t require testing unless an illegal drug laboratory is discovered. Otherwise, facilities aren’t required to screen.

“We can tell usually tell by sight, smell if we think that there is meth,” said Vicky Thurlow, Bio-One owner.

Thurlow owns the local biohazard cleanup service, Bio-One. “So our crew is certified, we go in full PPE, and they have to assess it.”

“A certified environmental hygienist is the one who does the testing. We use a third party like that, just for ethics, so they come in, and they do extensive testing, and they let us know the levels of contamination. That’s really important when it comes to clean up,” said Thurlow.

Thurlow says the cleanup isn’t conducted if a low level is detected. “So once we know what the levels are, we know how many washings the walls are going take or if a wall has to come out if it’s really high, drywall has to come out, or ceilings or whatever.”

It permeates. It’s like cigarette smoke and gets into drywall, wood, fabric, and carpet. It can pose a danger to the public. “...irritation of skin, eyes, sinuses, lungs, that type of thing. Some people have allergic reactions...,” said Thurlow.

But for now, Mesa County Libraries says it appears its buildings are clean.