The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

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May 25, 2014

Absent meth laws imperil home buyers

SUNBURY — The federal government does not require Pennsylvania to publicize those properties where methamphetamine-producing materials are found.

The state government does not require a certain contamination threshold be met to trigger remediation of the sites.

That must change, said Joe Mazzuca, CEO of operations for Meth Lab Cleanup LLC, of Idaho. Potential home buyers should be made aware of what could have been in a house they are considering.

Some Northumberland County employees may have been exposed to methamphetamine-producing materials Wednesday when two Milton residents allegedly had the drug in their possession inside the county building at 322 N. Second St.

Northumberland County Adult Probation officers had the two visitors detained under the suspicion of possessing materials consistent with the production of methamphetamine.

Mazzuca, a nationally recognized trainer for cleanup of methamphetamine sites, is concerned about the serious consequences of a drug that is growing in popularity, even with the associated high risks of explosions and residue in the labs where it is cooked.

The Department of Justice website shows a listing of homes across the United States that police have registered as meth houses.

Police in Pennsylvania do not have to register homes where meth is found. In fact, Mazzuca said, police don’t even have to meet a criteria to hire a cleaning company because the state has no legislation enforcing that.

No homes in Montour, Northumberland, Snyder or Union counties are registered on the federal site, even though there have been several meth labs broken up in the Valley over the past two years.

One meth lab in particular was in Shamokin, where a neighbor saw a fireball shoot across the window. Police discovered the lab was in a garage next to houses.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. It can be found in several forms, including powder, crystal, rocks and tablets, and can be taken by swallowing, snorting, smoking or injecting it with a hypodermic needle.

Berwick has become the regional epicenter of the meth epidemic, with more than 30 busts in the past year. Berwick has three homes listed on the Department of Justice site.

State Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-108, of Sunbury, said lawmakers must consider the overall protection of families or tenants.

“There should be something in place,” she said, “and I will be looking into seeing what we can do about this.”

 

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