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Meth Lab Cleanup: Fit-For-Use Standards

Based on the fact that no health-based standards exist for methamphetamine and many of the substances used in methamphetamine production, DEC recommends adopting the State of Washington's "fit for use" cleanup standards for clandestine methamphetamine lab sites. The following table specifies the required cleanup standards to be obtained in Alaska.

Required Cleanup Standards for Illegal Methamphetamine-Manufacturing Sites

Substance Cleanup Standard
Methamphetamine 0.1 µg/100 cm2
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) 1.0 ppm of total hydrocarbons and VOCs in air
Lead2 2.0 mg/100 cm2
Mercury 50 ng/m3 in air


  1. The cleanup standards apply only to illegal methamphetamine-manufacturing sites. DEC has not developed standards for other types of drug laboratories, such as LSD and ecstasy.
  2. This is equivalent to the 20 micrograms/ft2 standard specified by the State of Washington. A conversion was made to simplify the sampling protocols and to standardize the size of the sampling areas and templates.

DEC's rationale for establishing standards for determining whether former illegal drug-manufacturing properties are "fit for use" assumes that if decontamination activities are sufficient to remove VOCs and methamphetamines (also lead and mercury if the amalgam/P2P method were used) to acceptable levels, other chemicals will have been sufficiently removed as well.

Property owners should be aware that lead and mercury were commonly added to paints in past years, and in some areas, lead and mercury are present from natural (mineralogical) sources. Background concentrations of mercury and/or lead may result in false positives in excess of “fit for use” standards. If a background source is known or suspected, background concentrations must be determined and the applicable cleanup standard would equal background plus the cleanup standard. Property owners should consult DEC for advice regarding the collection of background samples for lead and mercury.

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