Health effects from reported exposure to methamphetamine labs: A poison center-based study

Dennis L. Thrasher, Katie von Derau, Jefferey L. Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Introduction: Illicit methamphetamine laboratories pose a health hazard. However, information on symptoms from exposure is limited, particularly for setup or former laboratories. Methods: A descriptive study was done using case reports provided by the Washington State Poison Control Center for the years 1999 through 2004. Results: Reported exposures occurred mainly in residences, predominantly in setup and suspected former lab sites. For all lab types combined, the most frequent reported symptoms were headache (17%), nausea/vomiting (14%), respiratory (8%), and eye irritation (7%). Healthcare facility utilization was highest for law enforcement personnel (93%) and persons involved in methamphetamine production, or "cooks" (90%). It was lowest for other adults (29%) and children (46%). Hospitalization was most common for cooks (43%), followed by children (8%), law enforcement officers (3%), and other adults (3%). Conclusion: Poison control center data help characterize health outcomes from exposure to suspected illicit methamphetamine labs. Many of the reported symptoms in suspected former labs are consistent with exposure to persistent irritants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-204
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Medical Toxicology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Children
  • Illicit lab
  • Methamphetamine
  • Public

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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