Fentanyl: The Newest and Deadliest Drug on the Street…

July - 5 - 2017 • Author: mpolkabla

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which is 25 to 40 times more potent than heroin and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. When prescribed by a physician, fentanyl is often administered via injection, transdermal patch, or in lozenges as a treatment for pain. However, illegal non-pharmaceutical fentanyl is sold as a powder, spiked on blotter paper, mixed with or substituted for heroin, or as tablets that mimic other less potent opioids. Drug abuse can occur by users who will swallow, snort, … Continue reading

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How is Methamphetamine Residue Contamination Created?

February - 10 - 2017 • Author: mpolkabla

As part of our Certified Industrial Hygiene (CIH) services, BioMax is frequently asked to develop site-specific cleanup procedures and methods to decontaminate methamphetamine (meth) contamination from surfaces. In fact, as BioMax’s Senior CIH, I have personally performed many hundreds of meth residue assessments since 1996 which have included single-family residences, rental properties, commercial properties, hotels/motels, houseboats, automobiles, and even bare/vacant land. Most of these assessments were performed as a result of a State regulatory mandate (following a meth lab bust) but also sometimes … Continue reading

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How Long Does Meth Contamination Last on Surfaces ???

August - 5 - 2016 • Author: mpolkabla

As BioMax Environmental’s Senior Certified Industrial Hygienist, I have frequently been asked…  “How long does Methamphetamine residue contamination last on surfaces and do these concentrations change (do they degrade/lessen) over time?”   This is a very important question when it comes to the cleanup of sites years after discovery and/or if the owners find out that their site or (residence) was contaminated by previous occupants.  In answering that question, I had the fortunate opportunity to participate manage a project where a methamphetamine lab was discovered … Continue reading

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Sample Collection and Processing

Why Use a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH)?

February - 4 - 2016 • Author: mpolkabla

Talking with a client recently regarding a microbial (mold) assessment of her residence, I was asked a very good question…  “Why should I hire a Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH) perform the assessment and what level of expertise do I get for having a CIH versus a non-CIH certified professional do the work?” OK…  “Fair enough I state!!!”  Let me answer that question “frankly”…The simplest answer is that contracting with a Certified Industrial Hygienist establishes the highest level of professional expertise and verified technical background employed for her project and … Continue reading

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Am I living in or near a “Meth House” or a Drug Lab???

June - 26 - 2014 • Author: mpolkabla

…It’s amazing how many properties and residences BioMax assesses which test “positive” for methamphetamine (Meth) residues, states Michel A. Polkabla, CIH, REA, Senior Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH), of BioMax Environmental, Inc. Evidence of such contamination is either discovered by law enforcement during drug busts, or discovered by property owners or buyers during home purchase inspections, landlord/tenant inspections, and/or when other “red flag” activities are observed or uncovered. In fact, contamination from methamphetamine residues has been shown to occur from both drug lab manufacturing … Continue reading

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Crystalline Silica Exposures and OSHA’s Proposed New Rule

October - 18 - 2013 • Author: mpolkabla

The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently submitted a proposed revision to its current regulatory standards on workplace exposures to crystalline silica (measured as respirable quartz).  This proposal seeks to lower the worker and workplace exposure limits to crystalline silica through its Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air.  (or equivalent 0.05 milligrams per cubic meter of air).   If approved, (which is likely) this will significantly change OSHA’s general industry, maritime, and the construction standards … Continue reading

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Methamphetamine Manufacturing in the United States

June - 29 - 2013 • Author: mpolkabla

Due to a number of factors currently present within today’s society, an increase in the use and distribution of illegally manufactured drugs has been experienced over the recent years.  In fact, the currently popular illegal street drug, methamphetamine (also commonly known as “crank”, “ice”, “crystal” or “speed”) is easily synthesized by illegal “would-be” producers and is now the most common illegal drug manufactured in the United States accounting for 98 percent of all illegal drug labs according to the US Drug Enforcement Agency.  Manufacturing … Continue reading

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“Breaking Bad” and Current Meth Lab Laws in California

December - 11 - 2012 • Author: mpolkabla

The popular AMC Television series Breaking Bad depicts the story of a struggling chemistry teacher who begins producing and selling methamphetamine to secure his family’s financial future before he dies of lung cancer.  The lead character Walter White lives a life of crime which takes many twists and turns in this “addicting” TV drama.  However, this drama, which is glamorized on this TV series, resembles very little to the real life struggles of those who are addicted to methamphetamine with its firm grasp of … Continue reading

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Indoor Air Quality In Our Homes

August - 12 - 2012 • Author: mpolkabla

If you are like most people, you certainly want to take good care of your health and the health of your family… In fact, you probably make personal choices relative to your health every day, by eating healthy foods, getting enough exercise, and even visiting the doctor regularly for checkups.   Most of us also care about our environment, want to live in a “safe” community, and try our very best to protect ourselves and our families from accidents and illness.  But is the … Continue reading

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Meth Lab Fire

Top States with Methamphetamine Drug Lab Seizures in the United States

June - 14 - 2012 • Author: mpolkabla

According to recent Associated Press (AP) reports…  Missouri regained the distinguished “honor” of the top national spot for methamphetamine drug lab seizures in 2011 with 2,096 total meth lab seizures for the year.   Once again, taking back the title from Tennessee who the AP confirmed through a survey that Tennessee (#2) had a mere 1,687 in 2011.  These top two were followed by #3 Indiana with 1,437, #4 Kentucky with 1,188 and #5 Oklahoma with 902. Combined, the numbers indicate nationwide meth lab … Continue reading

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