Meth clean-up injures law enforcement - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Meth clean-up injures law enforcement

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Graphic billboards and television ads advertise methamphetamine's consequences on those who use it, but less is known about how the drug affects those who try to keep it off the street.

The Effingham County Sheriff's office's drug squad is DEA trained on proper procedure for cleaning up a meth lab. But Cpl. Steve Blunt says he and every other drug squad officer has been burned by chemicals at least once. In eight years on the squad, Blunt says he's cleaned up more than 1,000 labs.

In one Rincon bust, and inexperienced meth cook left unstable chemicals in his trash.

"We pulled the items out of the trash can," Blunt said. "We bagged them for evidence. It turned out there was a large piece of lithium concealed within some filters and what they refer to as gris, which is a byproduct. It encountered some moisture in a bag and then detonated, causing probably a basketball-sized explosion in my hand."

Both Blunt and his partner were burned and inhaled noxious gasses.

"We had to go to the hospital," he said. "They had to scrub us down. I experienced nosebleeds and severe headaches for several months after."

Blunt says his doctor couldn't tell him exactly why he was experiencing those symptoms.

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