Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Suzanne C. Bell.
Remediation of clandestine laboratories has become a national concern due to health and environmental concerns. To date, remarkably little has been published regarding the fate and transport of methamphetamine in clandestine laboratories, both before and after remediation. The fate and transport of methamphetamine in an indoor air environment is an inherently complex process, where the drug can move as either particulate matter or vapor. The ability to diffuse throughout a building structure increases the need for analysis techniques that can evaluate potential exposure by various means. This research investigated three analytical methods for the detection of methamphetamine: ion mobility spectrometry (IMS), headspace gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (HS-GC/MS), and differential mobility spectrometry (DMS). In post-remediation evaluation of former clandestine laboratories surface wipes are typically analyzed using IMS, followed by confirmation with established NIOSH instrumental methods. To evaluate the cleaning process, this project established that methamphetamine cleaned with household Simple GreenRTM reduced the concentration of the drug on most nonporous household surfaces while showing little impact on the concentration of porous surfaces. A GC/MS method was validated and a HS-GC/MS method was established to investigate the rate of release of methamphetamine from common household building materials, such as southern yellow pine and gypsum wallboard. It was demonstrated that after a 2 hr analysis at 105 °C methamphetamine was not released in the gas phase from within the structure of either material, contradicting previously published surface studies. Both the IMS and GC/MS methods evaluated liquid exposure to surfaces. A more realistic approach was made by developing methodology for the detection of methamphetamine in the gas-phase by DMS. DMS analysis confirmed the ability to detect methamphetamine at high concentrations based upon four detection windows. In the final evaluation of all techniques, a vehicle was used to simulate a mobile clandestine laboratory. While DMS results indicate that the airborne methamphetamine concentration was below the detection limit inside the simulated environment, HS and IMS analysis indicate methamphetamine settling onto the surfaces in a car. We hypothesize that even though surface contamination was present, methamphetamine was release was below the limit of detection for the housing materials and was detected at low concentrations in vehicle samples. This finding strongly suggests that methamphetamine may not be the major concern in evaluating former clandestine laboratories for remediation; rather, remediation should focus on the broader range of compounds used in the production of the drug itself.
McCall, Holly A., "Fate and transport of Methamphetamine and related compounds in remediated clandestine laboratories" (2013). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 3656.