Arizona Attorney General

Mark Brnovich



How Meth Endangers Children

Exposure to meth manufacturing can harm anyone, but it is particularly dangerous to children. Once a meth lab is discovered, children who live in meth labs need special and immediate attention from a variety of professionals, including medical, legal and child welfare. The dangers faced by children who live in and near meth labs include contamination, fire and explosion, child abuse and neglect, hazardous living conditions and other social problems.

One of the greatest dangers of a meth lab is contamination. Contamination can occur in a number of ways – through the skin, soiled clothing, household items used in the lab, second hand smoke and ingestion. Children are more likely than adults to absorb meth lab chemicals into their bodies because of their size and higher rates of metabolism and respiration. The chemicals used to produce meth are often stored in unlabeled food and drink containers on floors and countertops. This puts toddlers and infants at increased risk due to childhood behaviors such as putting hands and other objects into mouths and crawling and playing on floors. The poor ventilation that results from attempting to seal in smells and add privacy increases the likelihood of inhaling toxic fumes. Exposure to waste by-products that have been dumped in outside play areas is also common for children living in and near meth labs. While much remains to be learned about the long-term medical consequences of exposure to meth chemicals in childhood, potential damage from such exposure includes anemia, neurologic damage and respiratory problems.