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Buyer Beware: Some Homes For Sale Could be Former Meth Labs

Scott Willis

  Some Central New Yorkers could unknowingly be moving into a house that once was a methamphetamine lab. Senator Chuck Schumer announced legislation Wednesday that would require home sellers and landlords who know a home was used as a meth lab to disclose that information to potential buyers or renters. 

  He stopped by a neighborhood in East Syracuse to make his point, just down the street from last week's raid of a meth lab.

The Drug Enforcement agency estimates that only about 5% of homes used to make meth are known by buyers. If any of the others end up on the market, Schumer says it could be a health and financial nightmare.

" Exposure to high concentration to solvents like acetone can actually cause death. Chronic inhalation to hexane can cause significant damage to the central nervous system and the bi-product benzene has been linked anemia and leukemia. We have heard horror stories of families experiencing these health problems in homes across the country and we need to prevent it from happening here in Central New York."

Schumer says it can cost up to $10,000 to clean-up a former meth house. Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann says that might not even  include any outdoor contamination.   

Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

"When they dump the waste products that is going into the ground, kids are playing in the backyard are subject to that same kind of contamination. Even if you ripped up the carpeting, taken down the drapes and painted the walls, its still all around those children are still subject to it."

Law enforcement officials say meth busts and arrests continue on a regular basis, increasing the chances a contaminated home could end up on the market. Under Senator Schumer's legislation, those who fail to disclose a house was used as a meth lab could face a fine of up to $11,000.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at