Source:PJ Randhawa, Andy Broadway, Sonya Potter, Erin Richey and David Raziq
Affiliation:KSDK (St. Louis)
Date:October - December 2019
If a home used to be a meth lab in Missouri, the seller must tell the buyer. That's the law. The problem? Break it and there's no penalty whatsoever.
About 50% of the homeowners who had homes listed on the DEA Clandestine drug lab list were not aware of their homes’ history.
One of the biggest former meth lab capitols of the country, Jefferson County, was not following its own ordinance about tracking, cleaning and condemning former lab sites.
Jefferson County law enforcement were rarely testing homes where meth or meth-making materials were found, even though they recently passed an ordinance to better protect home-buyers through required testing.
We traced changes in ownership of several homes that were bought and sold without any meth lab disclosure made.
There is little recourse for anyone who purchases a home without knowing its meth history. State law leaves it up to civil courts, and the homeowners we interviewed say they can’t afford the legal battle that would come with it.
A pregnant woman living in a former meth lab can test positive for meth years after the lab has been removed. This was the subject of our third report.