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Technical Note #112

New Laws Mean Greater Risk of Child Endangerment

Lead acetate and mercuric chloride are more prevalent due to stricter ephedrine laws.

News Laws Reducing Clan Lab Meth Production may mean Greater Risk of Child Endangerment from Heavy Metals.

The potential negative health effects to children in clandestine laboratories is no longer limited to the potential damage caused by exposure to methamphetamine. Far more debilitating and life threatening health effects are caused by heavy metals and metal compounds such as mercuric chloride and lead now increasingly used as reagents in methamphetamine and precursor production. Unlike methamphetamine that is passed from the human body in 24 to 48 hours after ingestion, mercuric chloride (mercury II chloride) and lead are persistent contaminants that have the potential to bioaccumulate. Therefore, repeated exposure to even trace concentrations over time can have a cumulative debilitating effect.

the P-2-P and methylamine is added to the mixture and the mixture is heated for four more hours. Mercuric chloride and possibly mercury may be given off in this process.

Why is Lead Now Present in Clan Lab Environments?

Over time, the unavailability of P-2-P, the classification in 1980 of P-2-P as a controlled substance, and legal restrictions on other precursors resulted in increasing the popularity of the use of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine as the primary precursors for manufacturing methamphetamine. The precursors ephedrine and pseudoephedrine were easy to obtain and they had the advantage of generating less odor than using P-2-P. The rise in the use of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine also resulted in the decline of the use of mercury chloride with the P-2-P precursor. Recently, however, new state restrictions on the purchase of over-the-counter cold and allergy medications containing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine is stimulating the use of P-2-P processes and increasing the demand for clan lab production of P-2-P from phenylacetic acid using lead acetate as the primary reagent. Because of the increased difficulty in obtaining ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, clan lab chemists are now using lead acetate and other forms of lead to manufacture the precursor P-2-P, which is combined with mercury chloride in the amalgam process to produce methamphetamine.

Why is Mercury (II) Chloride Now Present in Clan Lab Environments?

Due to abuse of amphetamine and other drugs in the United States, the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) was passed in 1970. The Act dramatically reduced the availability of pharmaceutical amphetamine by requiring manufacturers to register shipments and account for transactions involving controlled substances. Over time, the demand for illicit methamphetamine coupled with the Controlled Substance Act restrictions led to a significant increase in the number of clandestine laboratories manufacturing methamphetamine. The amalgam process that used Phenyl-2-Propanone (P-2-P) as the precursor and methylamine to provide the amine group were used to produce methamphetamine in a simple, single reaction process. The simple amalgam process utilizes a combination of mercuric chloride and aluminum foil as catalysts and is initiated by adding mercuric chloride, aluminum foil, isopropanol, and sodium hydroxide to a reaction vessel and applying heat. When the solution boils (vapors given off),

Why is Lead Contamination a High Risk to Children in Clan Lab Environments?

Children are at particular risk to lead exposure since they commonly put hands, toys, clothing, and other items in their mouths which may come in contact with lead-containing dust and dirt. Lead is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IRAC) and by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a possible human carcinogen. The American Conference of

Nextteq LLC 8406 Benjamin Road, Suite J, Tampa, FL 33634 USA Tel: 813-249-5888 · Toll free: 877-312-2333 · Fax: 813-249-0188 · Toll free fax: 877-312-2444 · ©2007 Nextteq LLC All Rights Reserved. Nextteq® is a registered trademark of Nextteq LLC. All features, specifications, and prices are subject to change without notice. P/N 680725 Rev C 08/07


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Technical Note #112

News Laws Mean Greater Risk of Child Endangerment

Governmental Hygienists has classified lead as a confirmed animal carcinogen. Symptoms of toxic exposure to lead include tremor, paralysis, deficits in neuropsychological performance (memory and executive functions), kidney disease, seizure, coma, and death in addition to possible cancer. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA's) Permissible Exposure Level (PEL) of lead is 0.5 g/m3 TWA. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH's) Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH) concentration of lead is 100 g/m3. And since a small child's exposure is accumulated over time, lead possesses an extremely serious child endangerment issue. In addition, to support child endangerment prosecution, lead exposure levels in the lab and on the child's clothing and toys should be checked and recorded regardless of and in addition to any blood test for lead.

Lead PN 20330000

Mercury PN 20340000

Why is Mercuric Chloride now such a High Risk to Children in Clan Lab Environments?

Classified by the EPA as a possible human carcinogen, mercuric chloride (mercury II chloride) is a poisonous, persistent contaminant that has the potential to bioaccumulate, making this a greater risk for small children. The NIOSH IDLH for mercuric chloride is 10 g/m3 (measured as mercury) and the ACGIH TLV is 0.025 g/m3 (also measured as mercury) which is indicative of the highly toxic nature of this compound. Poisoning can result from ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through the skin and can cause tremors, renal shock, kidney damage, and death. Animal studies have reported alterations in testicular tissue and abnormalities in development resulting from exposure to mercuric chloride. Furthermore, heating mercuric chloride may cause the more lethal mercury to separate from the chlorine in mercuric chloride and the mercury may be given off. However, it is not known if this will occur in a clan lab methamphetamine manufacturing process. Methamphetamine, while potentially dangerous to children in clandestine laboratories, is only one of numerous equally or more toxic chemicals. It is recommended that children, their possessions, and their living quarters be screened for lead, mercuric chloride, red phosphorous, iodine, strong acids and bases, and flammable solvents. Before children are allowed to reuse their possessions or return to their homes, a complete screening of the environment should be conducted to ensure the children will not be re-contaminated.

Methamphetamine PN 20350000

Highly Sensitive, Reliable, and Easy-to-Use Wipes for Clan Lab Testing NarcoWipe Kits are portable, self-contained systems for rapid on-the-spot detection and identification of trace concentrations of illicit drugs, precursors, controlled substances, and other chemicals. These chemicals can be detected in powder, crystal, tablet, capsule, oil, or solid form on surfaces and equipment, in containers, on clothes,or dissolved in liquids.

Nextteq LLC 8406 Benjamin Road, Suite J, Tampa, FL 33634 USA Tel: 813-249-5888 · Toll free: 877-312-2333 · Fax: 813-249-0188 · Toll free fax: 877-312-2444 · ©2007 Nextteq LLC All Rights Reserved. Nextteq® is a registered trademark of Nextteq LLC. All features, specifications, and prices are subject to change without notice. P/N 680725 Rev C 08/07


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