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Colorado Meth-lab Regulations

Caoimhin P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist

Regulatory History

Introduction to Legislative Actions
Forensic Applications Consulting Technologies, Inc. is a private consulting Industrial Hygiene firm providing environmental testing and assessments for a variety of contaminants, including methamphetamine.

Our Senior Industrial Hygienist, Mr. Caoimhin P. Connell, was the Technical Representative for the Colorado legislature instrumental in writing and promulgation of Senate Bill 97-119 which defined and codified the terms "Industrial Hygiene" and "Industrial Hygienist" in Colorado. This statute was originally designed to ensure that only those individuals meeting the necessary criteria could identify themselves as "Industrial Hygienists" and perform Industrial Hygiene work. The provisions of SB97-119 became codified in Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS)Section 24-30-1402. (A copy of our senior Industrial Hygienist's Drug Laboratory statement of qualifications can be found by clicking (here .)

Mr. Connell was also the primary author of the original assessment protocols in the State "Regulations Pertaining to the Cleanup of Methamphetamine Laboratories. " At the request of the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, on January 19, 2005, Mr. Connell testified before the Colorado Board of Health regarding the regulatory language he had prepared for the regulations. The regulations were Adopted January 19, 2005 and remained in effect from March 30, 2005 through December 15, 2014.

In 2006, Senator Schaffer asked Mr. Connell to assist in the promulgation of Senate Bill 06-002 which was designed to protect homeowners from unwittingly purchasing a property contaminated by illegal drug activities. Senator Schaffer's office decided to exclude Mr. Connell's suggested language and Mr. Connell testified before the Senate Committee On Business, Labor and Technology, against the promulgation of the bill. SB06-002 was nevertheless passed, and was codified in CRS Section 38-35.7-103.

It was quickly realized that, as cautioned by Mr. Connell, the bill had used undefined language and thus created serious problems. An attempt was made to rectify SB06-002 with the promulgation of Senate Bill 09-060, but the bill remained flawed and has since created confusion and unforeseen liabilities in the Real Estate market. Those issues are discussed in detail (here ).

When Mr. Connell prepared the language for the State regulations titled "Regulations Pertaining to the Cleanup of Methamphetamine Laboratories," intrinsic to those regulations and explicitly required by the regulations was the use of a trained "Industrial Hygienist."

At the time, it was believed that existing Statutes afforded Colorado citizens with appropriate protections. This understanding was explicitly described in a 2001 letter to the Members of the Colorado General Assembly, (c/o the Office of Legislative Legal Services), Michael Cooke, Executive Director of the Department of Regulatory Agencies who clearly explained the protections assumed to be afforded by the Statute:

This law [CRS Section 24-30-1402] prohibits individuals from misrepresenting their certification, abilities, and associations, and making false or misleading statements concerning the price of goods, services, or property. In addition,Section 6-1-707(1)(a)(I), C.R.S., prohibits an individual from claiming either orally or in writing, to possess either an academic degree or an honorary degree of the title associated with said degree, unless the person has, in fact, been awarded said degree. While this Act does not prevent individuals from performing industrial hygiene work, it does prohibit individuals from claiming that they have education or background that they do not possess. An individual who misrepresents his or her qualifications may be in violation of this Act. (ref 18) 6-1-105(1)(b), (c), (e) and (l), C.R.S.

Unfortunately, in violation of State Statutes, CRS 18-8-404, a regulator with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (Ms. Colleen Brisnehan) was simultaneously serving as a Director for a commercial group of pseudoprofessionals called the "Colorado Association of Meth and Mold Professionals." This organization consisted of numerous individuals who could not meet the Statutory definition of "Industrial Hygienist" and had no documented training in Industrial Hygiene and were providing junk-science based consultations in mold related issues and (unlawfully) drug laboratory assessments.

In her dual role as a State regulator, and Director of a commercial organization, and without disclosing her dual function, Ms. Brisnehan, with the intent to obtain benefits for members of her commercial group knowingly committed acts relating to her office but constituting unauthorized exercises of her official function and similarly refrained from performing duties imposed upon her by law and actively violated lawfully adopted regulations relating to her office. Without disclosing her dual role, Ms. Brisnehan not only advocated the use of unauthorized consultants for fraudulent drug laboratory assessments, but she actually personally assisted fraudulent consultants in the collection of unlawful samples, and then knowingly misrepresented the work performed by her membership.

Hundreds of invalid assessments were now being performed by untrained members of Ms. Brisnehan's group, resulting in serious problems for homeowners. The confusion thus created also had the effect that local jurisdictions gave up any enforcement actions, since they were receiving misinformation from the CDPHE regarding the regulations.

Mr. Connell was asked to provide testimony regarding Ms. Brisnehan's illegal activities, but the State of Colorado ignored the problems. Ultimately, the problem became so serious, Senator Tochtrop sponsored Senate Bill SB 13-219 which was intended to stop the regulatory abuses and the use of fraudulent consultants. Mr. Connell was instrumental in constructing SB 13-219 which was ultimately signed into law. Astonishingly, the CDPHE put Ms. Brisnehan in charge of enforcing the new regulations, and the abuses have since been magnified since Ms. Brisnehan, in violation of the new regulations, simply "certified" all of the fraudulent consultants who were otherwise engaged in illegal assessments.

Regulatory Overview
The following is an overview of Colorado's State Board of Health methlab clean-up regulations titled Regulations Pertaining to the Cleanup of Methamphetamine Laboratories, (6 CCR 1014-3), and Regulations Pertaining To The Cleanup Of Methamphetamine-Affected Properties. A copy of the regulations as they pertained to properties between March 30, 2005 and December 15, 2014 can be obtained by clicking here. A copy of the revised regulations (from December 15, 2014 to present), can be found by clicking here. A detailed discussion of the regulations that remain in effect for properties that were assessed between March 30, 2005 and December 15, 2014, is described in the section title "Original Regulations," lower on this page.

At one time, Colorado's clean-up regulations were considered to be one of the most comprehensive and scientifically valid in the nation. The toxicological exposure model used to support the cleanup thresholds can be found by clicking here.

As already described, illegal activities by a member of the CDPHE resulted in serious problems which lead to the promulgation of Senate Bill SB 13-219. The bill was originally intended to put an end to the use of untrained consultants performing invalid assessments by establishing a licensing program for individuals authorized to perform property assessments, and to establish disciplinary fines for those who violated the regulations. As already described, those provisions were ignored, and in violation of the new regulations, the fraudulent consultants who had created problems were automatically granted "certification." SB13- 219 similarly required the CDPHE to establish criteria for screening evaluations during Real Estate transactions.

New regulations were developed under Ms. Brisnehan which are now ambiguous, burdensome, devoid of scientific validity. The new regulations are not being followed, are not being enforced, and are resulting in invalid assessments performed by untrained consultants who, with the aid of Ms. Brisnehan, are merely falsifying real estate records claiming properties are compliant, when in fact, usually, no aspect of the regulations are being followed.

For example, an invalid assessment was performed at a property located at 4383 Tennyson Street, Denver, Colorado 80212. The assessment was performed for a fellow Board Member of Ms. Brisnehan's commercial organization. During the initial assessment, there were no fewer than 343 regulatory violations.

According to the regulations, before the property could be decontaminated, an authorized consultant was required to perform a valid "Preliminary Assessment" upon which the decontamination would be based. Instead of following the regulations, with the aid of Ms. Brisnehan, unlawful "cleaning" activities occurred. Following the "cleaning" the consultant "certified" the property as being compliant.

Instead of enforcing the regulations and requiring the work to be completed pursuant to mandatory protocols (which would have been troublesome for her fellow Board Member) Ms. Brisnehan, with the intent to obtain an unlawful benefits for her fellow Board Member, knowingly falsified the public record, and in violation of 6 CCR 1014-3 issued a "Variance" for the work wherein she stated:

The Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (the Department) has reviewed the Request for Variance at 4383 Tennyson Street, Denver, CO, dated April 11, 2015, submitted in accordance with Section 10, Part 1 of the Regulations Pertaining to the Cleanup of Methamphetamine-Affected Properties, 6 CCR 1014-3 (the Regulations). A variance from Part 1, Sections 6.9.5 and 6.9.6 of the Regulations is sought to allow the use of a composite sample collected during the preliminary assessment to be used for clearance of the ventilation system that services the common hallway.

However, Ms. Brisnehan knew that no such Request for Variance had ever been submitted by the consultant. Ms. Brisnehan was also fully aware of the fact that no "Preliminary Assessment" had ever been performed at the property, and no such "Preliminary Assessment" can be found in the Public Record. Ms. Brisnehan merely invented the existence of a "Preliminary Assessment" out of whole cloth for the benefit of her fellow Board Member. In violation of the regulations, Ms. Brisnehan failed to take corrective actions regarding the 343 regulatory violations.

Following our regulatory audit, Ms. Brisnehan found herself in the awkward position of having defended the original report, and she had lied about the documentation that was available. Therefore, she instructed the author of the report, to rewrite a new falsified report, which she the proffered as the actual report during trial (November 5-8, 2018) knowing the document was not the real report. It is the second falsified report that is currently on file for public review. However, FACTs retains a copy of the original falsified report for this property, which is available upon request.

No valid sampling has ever been conducted at the Tennyson Street property, and statutorily, the property remains a contaminated illegal drug laboratory, occupancy of which is prohibited by State statutes.

The above scenario of falsified "Variances" issued by Ms. Brisnehan in an attempt to hide violations and gain an unlawful benefit for favorable violators has now be played out over and again for multiple properties including:

3016 - 3018 Sumac Street, Fort Collins, CO

101 S. Clarkson, Denver, CO

8347 S Reed Street, Unit 2, Littleton CO

690 S. Lincoln Street, Denver, CO

(The regulatory audits for these properties are available for download below).

This scenario in one manner or another has now played out for hundreds of Colorado properties, placing the occupants in danger of chemical injury, and placing the new owners in danger of liability for facing the costs of re-cleaning, placing landlords in danger of toxic tort suits from tenants illegally occupying the structures, and new buyers in danger of purchasing properties falsely believing the "Certificates of Compliance" are based on valid assessments, performed by trained consultants who have followed the regulations.

Revision Process
A new stakeholder's committee was assembled, and populated mostly by the consultants who had been performing the fraudulent and invalid assessments that catalyzed the need for the new statutes. The old regulations were discarded, and, in particular, the scientific validity upon which assessments were based (called the sampling objectives) were simply deleted from the regulations since they were "too complicated" for untrained consultants to understand. Taken as an whole, the revised regulations are:

- meaningless
- protocols that are not based in science
- protocols that are significantly more costly to perform
- protocols that have an higher probability of false positives
- protocols that have an higher probability of false negatives

In the end, the rule making process was so sloppy, and so unprofessional and arbitrary, that Colorado has ended up with almost incomprehensible, arbitrary-based regulations. The regulations actually force a property owner to hire an untrained consultant to perform low quality work at an higher cost to the client. The regulations, devoid of scientifically valid sampling objectives, force the consultant to collect samples from inappropriate locations thus increasing the probability of false negatives (this is, not finding methamphetamine in an otherwise contaminated structures).

Remarkably, the revised regulations actually permit a consultant to enter a heavily contaminated property, and knowingly collect samples from locations within that property that do not represent the contamination levels in the property. That is, since the revised regulations no longer have any stated sampling objectives, a consultant is permitted by regulation to walk into a full-blown meth-lab set up, surrounded by toxic chemicals, equipment and illegal drugs and collect samples from surfaces known to be devoid of contamination (or known to have a low probability of being contaminated) and use those results to "prove" the property is clean.

The rule making process under Ms. Brisnehan was so sloppy that at the end of over a year of meetings, the rule making committee had been unable to even define the word "methamphetamine," and in the end, the CDPHE was not even capable of correctly spelling the word "methamphetamine" in the official documents (for example, see an official application by clicking here). Finally, the work was so incompetent, the CDPHE was unable to even correctly identify the title of the new regulations on their website.

Regulatory Audits
FACTs has been asked to review various Public Domain reports from consultants. In the table below, FACTs presents a synopsis of audits performed on assessment reports obtained from the CDPHE through the Colorado Open Records Act. To date, FACTs has identified no fewer than 15,382 regulatory violations in 48 reports of invalid assessments.

Each of the "Work Items" below, links to a copy of the FACTs audit of the public domain document. In virtually each case identified below, the property remains a contaminated illegal drug laboratory into which entry is restricted. Occupants and owners are under the false assumption that their property has been cleaned, and are similarly under the false assumption there is a valid certificate of compliance.

AddressWork ItemNumber of Violations
1301 Speer Blvd. Denver, Colorado Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Tom Koch (1/8/2015) 498
3324 S Field Street Lakewood, Colorado Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Tom Koch (1/21/2015) 179
4383 Tennyson Street, Denver, Colorado 80212 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Andre Gonzales (1/25/2015) 343
769 Cleveland Cir, Lafayette, CO Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Joe Boatman (2/10/2015) 189
1138 32nd Street, Unit 201, Denver, Colorado 80205 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Robert Woellner (2/24/2015) 277
413 South Buffalo Street, Yuma, Colorado 80759 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Robert Woellner (2/26/2015) 118
410 Garfield Avenue, Carbondale, CO 81623 Review of Preliminary Assessment prepared by Robert Woellner -198 violations; (3/2/2015) and invalid Clearance Sampling -366 violations (5/20/15) 564
771 Cleveland Circle Lafayette, CO 80026 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Robert Woellner (3/17/2015) 41
1635 S. Fundy Street in Aurora, CO 80017 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Tony Konowal (3/19/15) 137
48400 Routt County Road 56C, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Robert Woellner (3/20/2015) 54
Address withhold Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Robert Rodosevich (3/23/2015) 120
1006 Gilfin Circle Colorado Springs, Colorado 80915 Review of a falsified 3/23/15 Public Domain Report prepared by Robert Rodosevich 80
3400 Glade Road, Loveland, 80538 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Alex Johnsen(3/27/2015) 684
836 Prospect Lake Drive, Colorado Springs, CO Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Meth Lab Cleanup (4/1/2015) 39
8347 S Reed Street, Unit 2, Littleton CO 80128 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Robert Woellner (5/27/2015) 121
11767 Grant Street, Northglenn, Colorado 80233 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Robert Woellner (6/4/2015) 113
731 Excelsior Place, Lafayette, CO 80026 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Joe Boatman (3/25/2015) 344
767 West Cleveland Circle, Lafayette, Colorado 80026 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Andre Gonzalez, Foothills Environmental, Inc. (4/18/2015) 110
502C West South Boulder Road, Louisville, CO 80027 (PA) Review of falsified Reports prepared by Joe Boatman (4/28/2015) 357
3282 E 103rd Dr Unit 1601, Thornton, CO 80229 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Judith E Sawitsky, CMC Weecycle Environmental Consulting, Inc. (4/7/15) 272
598 Cleveland Avenue, Louisville, CO 80027 Review of Public Domain Report prepared by Robert A. Woellner, QUEST Inc. (4/20/15) 264
1815 Regal Ct., Unit B, Louisville, CO 80027 Review of invalid Screening Report prepared by Joe Boatman, Quality Environmental Services (6/28/15) 90
1815 Regal Ct., Unit B, Louisville, CO 80027 Review of invalid Preliminary Assessment Report prepared by Joe Boatman, Quality Environmental Services (6/28/15) 234
1815 Regal Ct., Unit B, Louisville, CO 80027 Review of invalid Clearance Assessment and falsified compliance certification prepared by Joe Boatman, Quality Environmental Services (6/28/15) 357
2330 Wedgewood Ave., Building 7, Longmont, CO 80503 Review of Public Domain Screening Assessment Report prepared by Joe Boatman, Quality Environmental Services (3/15/15) 345
3830, 3832 and 3834 South Knox Court, Denver, CO Review of Public Domain Clearance report prepared by Joe Gifford, (A.G. Wassenaar, Inc.) 1/22/15 863
690 S. Lincoln Street in Denver, CO 80203 Review of Public Domain Clearance report prepared by Robert Woellner, (QUEST) 2/5/15 It is important to note that following our regulatory audit, Coleen Brisnehan with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment was faced with the problem of having already defended the report by Mr. Woellner and had publicly claimed there were no violations. Therefore, Ms. Brisnehan instructed Mr. Woellner to falsify a second report, claiming to be the final report; it is the second, falsified report that is currently on file for public review through CORA. However, FACTs, retains a copy of the original falsified report and that report is available on request. 769
101 S. Clarkson, Denver, CO Review of Public Domain Clearance report prepared by Judith Sawitsky 1/20/15 440
728 Cherry Street, Fort Collins, Colorado Review of Public Domain Preliminary Assessment by Paul Jaeckel 1/12/15 403
Address Withheld, Fort Collins, Colorado Review of Screening Assessment by James Dennison, CIH 12/1/15 108
8172 East 132nd Avenue, Thornton, Colorado 80602 Review of a Preliminary Assessment by Robert Woellner 7/7/15 385
413 W Easter Avenue, Littleton, CO 80120 Review of a Screening Assessment by Robert Woellner 1/28/15 101
413 W Easter Avenue, Littleton, CO 80120 Review of invalid Preliminary Assessment by Robert Woellner 2/6/15 72
413 W Easter Avenue, Littleton, CO 80120 Review of invalid and falsified "Clearance Assessment" by Robert Woellner 2/6/15 592
4190 W. 97th Court, Westminster, CO 80031 Review of a Screening Assessment by Judith E Sawitsky 2/18/15 126
795 Main St. Limon, CO 80828 Review of falsified Clearance Certification by Judith E Sawitsky 1/14/15 2,934
2102 Clarice Court Loveland, CO Review of an invalid Screening Assessment by James Dennison, CIH 1/20/15112
586 West Fremont Drive, Littleton, CO 80120 Review of an invalid Screening Assessment by Robert Woellner 2/24/15179
Withheld by Courtesy, Louisville, CO 80027 Review of an invalid Screening Assessment by Robert Woellner 5/20/15264
2000 Sunset Way, Unit #7318, Longmont, CO 80501 Review of an invalid Clearance Certification by Judith Sawitsky 4/8/15301
2044 Summerset Drive, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80902 Review of a falsified 3/23/15 Real Estate Screening Assessment by Robert Rodosevich107
2071 London Carriage Grove, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80920 Review of a falsified 2/5/15 Real Estate Screening Assessment by Robert Rodosevich128
316 South Hancock Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903 Review of a falsified 2/19/15 Real Estate Screening Assessment by Robert Rodosevich101
316 South Hancock Avenue, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903 Review of a falsified 2/26/15 Preliminary Assessment by Robert Rodosevich370
3016 - 3018 Sumac Street, Fort Collins, Colorado Review of a falsified 2/4/15 Preliminary Assessment by Paul Jaeckel (Century Environmental Hygiene LLC). Also documenting intentional falsification of public real estate records by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.298
2301 Pearl Street, Apt. #29, Boulder, CO 80302 Review of a falsified Preliminary Assessment and Clearance certification by Foothills Environmental, Inc.283
1339 & 1341 E. 7th Street, Loveland, CO Review of a falsified Screening Assessment by Mr. Jim Dennison, Century Environmental, Inc.108
3731 S. Uinta St. Denver, CO 80237 Review of a falsified Preliminary Assessment and Clearance certification by Mr. Ron Crandall, Foothills Environmental, Inc.408
Total Number of Violations15,382

FACTs has filed a legal action against the CDPHE which is an expensive and lengthy process. Property owners, tenants, landlords, and home buyers who have been harmed by falsified real estate documents produced by consultants performing invalid assessments can visit GoFundMe to make a donation to the legal fund necessary to bring an end to the problems created by corrupt members of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment responsible for the current problems.

Authorized Consultants
According to the revision, only those individuals who were legitimate Industrial Hygienists, and who had been performing property assessments pursuant to existing regulations were to be permitted to continue to perform such work between December 15, 2014 and until June 15, 2015. However, the new provisions notwithstanding, Ms. Brisnehan ignored the regulations and in spite of assurances from the Attorney General's Office, the CDPHE automatically granted "Interim Authorization" to the very fraudulent consultants who had created the problem that necessitated the need for new regulations. That is, the untrained consultants who had been performing fraudulent and invalid assessments under the old regulations, are now the same consultants who are performing fraudulent and invalid assessments under the new revised regulations.

Loss of Scientific Validity in Screening Evaluations
In the past, in Colorado, regulatory property assessments were scientifically-based assessments founded on State-of-the-art hypothesis testing and the development of legitimate Data Quality Objectives (DQOs). In the past, the DQOs were obtained by "authoritative judgmental bias", sampling, that guaranteed that sampling error was eliminated, and the probability of a false negative was virtually impossible, at the same time, the fees of the service were minimal since fewer samples needed to be collected (indeed, contrary to the false statements by Ms. Brisnehan, in many cases, no sampling was needed at all).

In the new regulations, all state-of-the-art scientific DQOs and hypothesis testing has been stripped from the regulations. Nowhere in the revised regulations is there any stated objective to performing sampling. That is, nowhere in the revised regulations is there any stated reason the collected sample is meant to satisfy other than collecting a sample because the regulations require a sample. It is for this reason, the consultant is permitted to enter a heavily contaminated property, and decide to collect samples from sink basins, interior walls, door knobs, light switches and other surfaces that would not be expected to have contamination, and use those invalid samples to declare the contaminated property "clean. " Indeed, most of the consultants are collecting samples literally from thin air, falsely claiming the sample represents a surface, when in fact, there is no surface at all. For example, the following photograph, obtained through the Colorado Open Records Act was taken by the consultant (Ms. Judith Sawitsky with Weecycle Environmental) at 3282 E 103rd Dr., Unit 1601, Thornton, CO 80229. The photograph documents the "surface" collected which was merely thin air.

[The myth of surface sampling]

In other cases, the consultant is so poorly trained in sampling they completely lack any concept of even how to use a sampling template. For example, in the photograph below, obtained through the Colorado Open Records Act, the consultant, Mr. Robert Woellner, demonstrates how he uses a 100cm2 sampling template to collect a sample at 8172 East 132nd Avenue, Thornton, Colorado 80602, which he falsely identified as a 100cm2 surface:

[The myth of surface sampling]

As comical as these photographs may seem, these photos have not been altered in any way, and neither are these examples rarities; FACTs has documented literally hundreds and hundreds of such invalid samples.

Yet, even though these samples are invalid, and in violation of the regulations, Ms. Brisnehan has defended these consultants, and she has approved them as authorized consultants, knowing that neither consultant met the necessary criteria for State authorization. Therefore, it should not be surprising that such incompetence is played out to the harm of the Colorado Property Owner with impunity.

The legitimate scientific DQOs have now been replaced with "cookie cutter" instructions that prohibit the consultant from utilizing knowledgeable sampling theories with the requirement to merely collecting more samples from more areas, even if those areas have no probability of representing any statistically significant result. This results in higher costs to the property owner, and significantly increases sampling error.

In the past, during a Real Estate screening evaluation, the Industrial Hygienist could deploy a properly trained and certified Technician to the site. From the site, the Technician could electronically transmit information and photographs back to the Industrial Hygienist who could then make decisions on where and how to sample.

Under the new regulations, the untrained consultant must personally inspect the subject property and personally collected the bogus samples as depicted in the above photographs. As a result, the labor fees of such an inspection have now significantly increased, since firms are now prohibited from deploying trained technicians to perform the initial work. Simultaneously the quality of the work has plummeted since untrained consultants are now State Certified.

Multiplicity of Samples
In the past, a legitimate expert could adequately perform screening sampling with no greater than one wipe per 300 square feet of floor space collected pursuant to hypothesis testing, and "authoritative judgmental bias, " sampling. Now, in the new regulations, the consultant is required to abandon scientifically valid sampling theories and protocols and pursuant to Section, collect a minimum of two 4-aliquot composite samples, at least one aliquot of each from each "room" in the structure and at least one composite sample must include an aliquot from the cold air return of a heating system, (if it is a forced air system) AND all exhaust fans (including, but not limited to, kitchen, bathrooms, attic vent fans, or whole house exhaust fans) MUST also be sampled (Section, AND at least one aliquot must be taken from each room of all outbuildings AND the sample suite must contain at least one field blank. These new provisions significantly increase the fees associated with the analysis and can easily triple or even quadruple the analytical fees, with no actual benefit to the consumer in return. Not only was the State incapable of providing any explanation in support of this change, the Ms. Brisnehan actually refused to allow a discussion regarding the validity of the sampling. During the Stakeholder's meeting, Ms. Brisnehan literally shouted down a Stakeholder and refused to permit a discussion of legitimate sampling protocols.

Definition of a Room
Naturally, if the State is going to require one sample from each "room," in a structure, the State must be capable of defining what constitutes a "room. " And that has occurred wherein the State now has a very complex, tortuous definition of a room (See Section 2 of Part 1 of the regulations). Although the definition is entirely ignored by State Certified consultants, whereas in the past, a 1500 square foot residence could be adequately assessed with a single, multi-aliquot sample, now, the same structure may contain as many as 16 areas that meet the definition of a "room," each requiring an aliquot" but not more than four aliquots may be added to a sample (again for reasons the State was unable to explain), and therefore, up to four analyses are required for the same 1500 square foot property, plus one field blank. As such, instead of paying $46 in analytical fees, the consumer must now spend $230 just in analytical fees for the same property, with no increased benefit in return.

Field Identifications
In the past, the trained field Technician would perform a brief walk-through and very quickly identify pertinent aspects of the structure. Now, pursuant toSection 3.7.2, the consultant must perform an inventory and document all structural features (perform and document an inventory of all types of "rooms"). This activity significantly increases the fees to the consumer.

The consultant is now required to generate "computer-generated" drawings that depict the entire structure (Section including sample locations, rooms, attics, crawlspaces and the entire building layout for the site. Often, the consultant simply ignores the requirement, which in turn is ignored, if the consultant is a personal friend of Ms. Brisnehan or otherwise belongs to her private commercial organization.

No evidence was provided by the State that such inventories or drawings provide the slightest benefit to anyone, and yet, the new regulatory requirements significantly increases the fees to the consumer.

Reporting Requirements
In the past, depending on the results of the assessment, the information may or may not have entered into the public domain. Now, according to the regulations, regardless of the findings, the report thus generated must be submitted to The State and must enter the Public Record. This is what permits FACTs to obtain and audit copies of the reports.

False Positives
In the past, Colorado was a "no de minimis" limit state, meaning any concentration of methamphetamine identified in a screening sample would trigger the regulations; even for a property that was otherwise compliant. Since the methodologies used by legitimate Industrial Hygienists was so sensitive, the legitimate Industrial Hygienist would exercise good industry standard sampling techniques and establish a reportable limit that would ensure that contaminated properties were identified, while at the same time ensuring that properties that contained insignificant concentrations of trace amounts of methamphetamine would not unnecessarily trigger the regulations.

Now, under the new regulations, the consultant is prohibited from establishing scientifically valid DQOs, and instead is forced (Section 3.6) to report all methamphetamine at concentrations equal to or greater than 0.2 micrograms per 100 square centimeters (normally represented with the Greek letter "mu," however most browsers can no longer properly render this special character and so throughout this discussion, it will be rendered as "ug/100cm2"). This requirement is true even for properties that are otherwise compliant with State regulations. That is, now, if a consultant finds insignificant concentrations of methamphetamine, but concentrations at or greater than 0.2 ug/100cm2, during a real estate screening transaction, the seller is forced by regulation to either demolish the property, or perform a full and complete Preliminary Assessment (Section 3.6.1) and/or perform a full "clearance" sampling protocol (Section 3.6.2).

This creates a serious problem since the State kept the clearance level at 0.5 ug/100cm2. Imagine a property owner who has spent tens of thousands of dollars to assess and remediate a property and bring that property into full compliance. That owner can fully demonstrate that the concentrations of methamphetamine are below the cleanup standard and are, say, 0.35 ug/100cm2 throughout the house. Now, having spent tens of thousands more in restoring the property, the owner puts the newly refurbished property on the market. A perspective buyer performs a "Screening Evaluation" and finds what was already known " the concentrations of methamphetamine in the property are 0.35 ug/100cm2. However, the State trigger level is 0.2 ug/100cm2 and now the property owner is forced by Regulations to go through the entire Preliminary Assessment and/or Clearance Assessment process again!

The State never offered any evidence whatever of a single example of a property in Colorado, over the last ten years wherein screening sampling from a legitimate Industrial Hygienist was below 0.5 ug/100 cm2, but upon completion of a Preliminary Assessment, the property turned out to be a noncompliant property. Once again, the State refused to permit discussion on such badly thought out decisions.

As such, property owners now run the risk of having their property udiscoveredu as an illegal drug laboratory over and over and over, and are then forced to spend a large sum of money to prove the property is actually compliant, over and over and over even though a properly trained Industrial Hygienist could have easily predicted that the property was actually compliant in the first place. The State never provided ANY data to support their position to the contrary, and disallowed any challenge to their position.

Significant Increase in Costs
Therefore, in the past, a 1500 square foot home with an attached garage could be adequately assessed by a Trained Technician who, under the direction of a legitimate Industrial Hygienist, could collect a single multiple aliquot composite sample. The fees for the service would be about $450. For the same property now, under the new regulations, the consumer can expect to pay approximately $1,200 for the same property, in order to meet the mandated criteria, and now will have to use an untrained consultant who has no idea of what they are doing or why they are doing it, and won't follow the regulations anyway.

Regulatory History
In Colorado, the regulations have been created by a progression of legislative bills. Independently, additional bills were passed that impacted the State statutes, but not necessarily the State regulations.

The original impetus behind the Colorado regulations was essentially a liability immunity law that would protect property owners from future law suits in the event that a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory was discovered on their property.

The original Act (available by clicking here) was HB 04-1182. This act, which was signed by Governor Owens on April 21, 2004, laid the foundation for the regulations and required the Colorado Board of Health to establish methlab clean-up standards to even the playing field, and standardize how contaminated properties (and therefore, toxicological risk) could be controlled. The regulations required assessments by an Industrial Hygienist, a profession and term defined in Colorado Revised Statute, CRS Section 24-30-1402. The Industrial Hygienist was required to have specific training in the assessment of illegal drug laboratories. The act provided immunity to property owners from future civil lawsuits provided the property owner hired legitimate, authorized Industrial Hygienists and provided that Industrial Hygienist followed the regulations promulgated by the Board of Health. If the consultant was not an authorized Industrial Hygienist, the work was fatally flawed, and the property owner would not receive the liability immunity.

Following the promulgation of the regulations, many unauthorized and untrained "testing companies", including untrained "Certified Industrial Hygienists, " unauthorized Asbestos Contractors and (in violation of regulations) even "methlab" cleanup companies began performing unlawful "assessments. "

Invalid assessments were also being performed by individuals with make-believe and falsified credentials; including titles like "Environmental Specialist, " and "Senior Scientist, " or "Certified Microbial Consultant, " and so forth.

Some untrained consultants were even falsely claiming to be "Certified Clandestine Druglab Specialists", or falsely claiming to be certified through the State of Colorado. None of the "certifications" being used were valid and these unauthorized consultants created a serious litigation and liability problem.

Although counties, and municipalities had the authority to enforce the regulations and statutes, the problem was magnified by two individuals within the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) who were knowingly providing false information regarding the regulations, to protect members of a private commercial group called "The Colorado Association of Meth and Mold Professionals. " This was a group of individuals who appeared to have no legitimate knowledge in methamphetamine related issues or mold related issues; but ran around collecting meaningless in demonstrated deceptive trade practices. The CDPHE staff, in violation of regulations and statutes, even participated in unlawful assessments assisting unauthorized consultants in the collection of unlawful samples.

Eventually the problem became so bad, and corruption within the CDPHE so uncontrolled, in March of 2013, Sen. Tochtrop introduced Senate Bill SB13-219. That bill, as codified now in CRS 25-18.5, was designed to reign in untrained and unauthorized personnel performing unlawful consultations, place a judicial review on the CDPHE decisions, and give citizens an avenue to report the fraudulent work.

Senate Bill SB13-219 passed, and signed into law by the Governor on May 28, 2013. The Bill significantly amended Colorado Revised StatutesSection 28-18.5-101 et seq. The intent was to require enforcement of the State regulations. However, the control over the new regulations was placed in the hands of the every individuals within the CDPHE who had created the problem in the first place. The same individuals in CDPHE who were engaged in assisting in unlawful activities, and covering up invalid assessments, were now tasked with re-writing and enforcing the regulations. These individuals in the CDPHE actively sought the input from the consultants who were responsible for the fraudulent assessments that created the problem. The practical result was that the new regulations adopted non-scientific assessment protocols to make it easier for untrained and otherwise incompetent consultants to perform the work.

Additional legislative bills were passed by the Colorado legislature and those bills and statutes include the Real Estate Disclosure and Discovery Bill, SB 06-002; (a discussion of the Real Estate Disclosure and Discovery Bill, SB 06-002, can be found by clicking here) and a discussion of the Colorado Methlab Omnibus Bill can be found by clicking here. A copy of the Omnibus bill can be obtained by clicking here.

Original Regulations
The following discussion applies only to the original regulations.

Contrary to the claims by some untrained consultants, the Colorado regulations did not require the consultant to be a Certified Industrial Hygienist, and in fact, the Colorado Board of Health acknowledged that ABIH Certification was not a de facto stamp of competency in industrial hygiene or methlabs (or anything else for that matter). The news videos below, featuring FACTs Industrial Hygienist) centers on the invalid work by one such Certified Industrial Hygienist.

FACTs has been used by regulatory agencies to provide testimony used to refute and reject methlab assessments performed by unauthorized Certified Industrial Hygienists and other consultants who are not authorized to perform such assessments. In the following video (link broken) our Industrial Hygienist was the technical expert used by ABC News to develop the investigative report.

Codification History

House Bill 04-1182 became codified in the Colorado revised statutes Title 25, Article 18.5 Parts 101-103, (CRS Section 25-18.5-101)

25-18.5-101. Definitions
25-18.5-102. Illegal drug laboratories - rules. (Required the Board of Health to promulgate standards for cleanup.)
25-18.5-103. Discovery of illegal drug laboratory - property owner - cleanup - liability

An ancillary bill, Senate Bill 05-217 (SB05-217), provided some clarification for some deficiencies in HB 04-1182. Governor Owens objected to some of the language, but not the overall intention of SB05-217, and so although he did not sign the Bill, he did not veto the Bill and so the Bill came to be Law in mid June, 2005 which modified Title 25, Article 18.5 and added two new sections: Section 104 (which restricted access to illegal drug laboratories) and Section 105 which defined "Governing Body" and reinforces home-rule original jurisdiction authority wherein the property is located.

In 2013, Senate Bill SB13-219, heavily modified Title 25, Article 18.5 Parts 101-105 and added:
25-18.5-106. Powers and duties of department
25-18.5-107. Enforcement
25-18.5-108. Illegal drug laboratory fund
25-18.5-109. Judicial review

Current Elements

25-18.5-101. Definitions
The most notable definitions are

(4) "Consultant" means a certified industrial hygienist or industrial hygienist who is not an employee, agent, representative, partner, joint venture participant, or shareholder of the contractor or of a parent or subsidiary company of the contractor, and who has been certified under section 25-18.5-106.

However, the CDPHE ignored this requirement and simply granted authorization to anyone who requested authorization, including those consultants who openly admitted they were not Industrial Hygienists.

(8) "Illegal drug laboratory" means the areas where controlled substances, as defined by section 18-18-102, C.R.S., have been manufactured, processed, cooked, disposed of, used, or stored and all proximate areas that are likely to be contaminated as a result of the manufacturing, processing, cooking, disposal, use, or storage.

25-18.5-102.Illegal Drug Lab Rules
Under this section, the State legislature mandated the Board to create various regulations. Although not intended by the original bill and not anticipated by the Bill's author, the CDPHE used to the opportunity to heavily modify the (otherwise excellent) existing regulations in ways that effectively removed the validity of any sampling thus performed.

25-18.5-103. Discovery of illegal drug laboratory
This section states that upon notification from law enforcement or when an illegal drug laboratory is otherwise discovered in a vehicle or on a property, as evidenced by chemicals, equipment, or supplies associated with an illegal drug laboratory and the property owner has received notice, the owner shall meet the clean-up standards (the regulations).

If the owner does not want to clean the property, them may demolish the property. If the owner elects to demolish the property, the governing body may require the owner to fence off the property or otherwise make it inaccessible for occupancy or intrusion.

If an individual owns personal property within a structure or vehicle contaminated by illegal drug laboratory activity, they have ten days after the date of discovery to remove the property according to board rules or clean the property according to board rules. If the personal property owner fails to remove the personal property within ten days, the owner of the structure or vehicle may dispose of the personal property during the clean-up process without liability to the owner of the personal property for the disposition. Only State Certified remediators are permitted to remove personal items from a contaminated property. A person who removes personal property or debris from a drug laboratory must secure the property and debris to prevent theft or exposing another person to any toxic or hazardous chemicals until the property and debris is appropriately disposed of or cleaned according to board rules.

Once a property owner has received certificates of compliance from a contractor and a consultant in accordance with section 25-18.5-102 (1) (e), or has demolished the property, or has met the clean-up standards and documentation requirements of this section as it existed before August 7, 2013, the property owner must furnish copies of the certificates of compliance to the governing body; and is then immune from a suit brought by a current or future owner, renter, occupant, or neighbor of the property for health-based civil actions that allege injury or loss arising from the illegal drug laboratory.

25-18.5-104. Entry into illegal drug laboratories
Once a structure or vehicle has been discovered or if a governing body or law enforcement agency issues a notice of probable contamination, the owner of the structure or vehicle shall not permit any person to have access to the structure or vehicle unless that person is trained or certified to handle contaminated property under board rules or federal law; or has received certificates of compliance under section 25-18.5-102 (1) (e).

25-18.5-105. Drug laboratories - governing body - authority
This section gives local governments the authority to enforce the regulations and collect reasonable fees for that enforcement. Local governments including county and town governments always had this authority anyway, and these provision have not changed.

25-18.5-106. Powers and duties of department
This required the department to implement, coordinate, and oversee the rules promulgated by the board including a certification process for individuals (and firms) involved in the assessment, decontamination, or sampling of illegal drug laboratories and the approval of persons to train consultants and contractors in the assessment, decontamination, or sampling of illegal drug laboratories.

25-18.5-107. Enforcement
Although ignored by the CDPHE, this section required the CDPHE to discipline any person that violates any rule promulgated by the board and subject them to an administrative penalty not to exceed fifteen thousand dollars per day per violation until the violation is corrected. In fact, Ms. Brisnehan with the CDPHE is now the single largest violator of the regulations.

25-18.5-108. Illegal drug laboratory fund
This established an "illegal drug laboratory fund" in the state treasury.

25-18.5-109. Judicial review
To prevent further abuses by the department, this section stipulated that the department's decisions are subject to judicial review in accordance with CRS 24-4-106. However, from a practical perspective, it is virtually impossible for a common citizen to commence a judicial review, and therefore, the provision is largely meaningless.

The Original Regulations

All properties assessed during the effective timeframes of the original regulations are still covered by those regulations. Therefore, the importance of the old regulations cannot be understated.

As required by the original Act, the Colorado Board of Health promulgated a set of rules titled (appropriately enough): Regulations Pertaining to the Cleanup of Methamphetamine Laboratories which became codified as Board of Health 6 CCR 1014-3. The regulations were approved January 19, 2005 and became effective March 30th, 2005, and remained effective until December 14, 2014.

The Regulations contained nine Sections and five Appendices.
Section 1 - Purpose
Section 2 - Applicability
Section 3 - Definitions
Section 4 - Preliminary Assessment
Section 5 - Decontamination Procedures
Section 6 - Sampling and Analysis
Section 7 - Cleanup Levels
Section 8 - Documentation
Section 9 - References

Appendix A - Sampling Methods and Procedures
Attachment to Appendix A - Sampling Theory
Appendix B: Analytical Methods
Appendix C: Ventilation System Decontamination
Appendix D: Individual Sewerage Disposal Systems (ISDSs)

Section 1 - Purpose
To establish cleanup standards and procedures that a property owner is required to meet in order to obtain immunity from civil liabilities.

Section 2 - Applicability
The requirements of this section applied when 1) an owner of property received notification from a peace officer that chemicals, equipment, or supplies indicative of a clan-lab are located at the property, or 2) when a drug laboratory was otherwise discovered, and 3) the owner of the property where the clan-lab is located received notice.

Section 3 - Definitions
This section contains vital terms that were been carefully constructed to ensure clarity.

Section 4 - Preliminary Assessment
A comprehensive preliminary assessment was required by a legitimate Industrial Hygienist in accordance with Section 6.7 of the regulations prior to decontamination. Furthermore, the decontamination plan MUST be based on the Industrial Hygienist's Preliminary Assessment. Access to the property was limited to those with appropriate training and personal protective equipment. Information collected during the preliminary assessment must include an array of topics, including (but not limited to ): physical address, legal description, number and type of structures present, descriptions of adjacent and/or surrounding properties, description of available law enforcement reports, identification of structural features that may indicate separate functional spaces, identification of manufacturing methods, identification of chemicals used, identification and documentation of areas of a) contamination b) chemical storage areas, c) waste disposal areas, d) cooking areas; signs of contamination such as staining, etching, fire damage, or outdoor areas of dead vegetation, potential disposal into the sanitary sewer or ISDS, ventilation systems with adjacent units or common areas... and an whole laundry list of other items that include sewerage septic tanks, soils, ventilation systems, and more.

Section 5 - Decontamination procedures
This section provides the decon procedures that MUST be followed. The procedures require a significant degree of expertise and, as such, specialized training. At the moment, OSHA is considering such work to be under the scope and applicability of 29 CFR 1910.120, HazWOper. Therefore, remediation contractors must be 40 Hour Hazardous Waste Site trained.

Section 6.0 - Sampling and Analytical Procedures
This section contains the crux of the verification process. It requires a very high degree of technical expertise and thorough knowledge of sampling theory. The immunity of the property owner hinges on the competency of the Industrial Hygienist performing this work. Not all Industrial hygienists, or Certified Industrial Hygienists have the training and experience necessary to properly perform this work. Furthermore, due to the unusual hazards that may be encountered during the assessment, (we have encountered booby traps, explosives, and even armed criminals, during our assessments), not all consulting Industrial Hygienists feel comfortable offering the preliminary services.

Our Industrial Hygienist, with 27 years experience, is Colorado's only practicing Industrial Hygienist certified by both HIDTA, (High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area; Office of National Drug Control Policy, Clandestine Drug Lab Safety Program) and Colorado Department of Law, P.O.S.T. He has received extensive specialized meth-lab training such as the identification of "anti personnel devices" (booby-traps commonly found at meth-labs) through both the Iowa National Guard, Midwest Counterdrug Training Center and the Multijurisdictional Counter Drug Task Force, St. Petersburg College. Mr. Connell has processed clandestine laboratories from both the criminal and civil perspectives.

Section 7.0 - Cleanup Levels
The following cleanup levels have been established to determine if a property has been adequately decontaminated. All discovered and duly noticed clan-labs must meet the cleanup level for methamphetamine. Additional cleanup levels that may be applied to a property must be based on information gained during the preliminary assessment.

7.1. Surface wipe samples and vacuum samples for methamphetamine shall not exceed a concentration of 0.5 ug /100 cm2. (With special caveats for composite samples)

7.2. If there is evidence of iodine contamination on materials or surfaces that will not be removed, surface wipe samples for iodine shall not exceed a concentration of 22 ug/100 cm2.

7.3. If the preliminary assessment indicates the phenyl-2-propanone (P2P) method of methamphetamine manufacturing was used, surface wipe samples for lead shall not exceed a concentration of 40 ug /ft2, and vapor samples for mercury shall not exceed a concentration of 1.0 ug /m3.

7.4. The investigation and cleanup of outdoor contamination, including soil, surface water and groundwater, shall be conducted in accordance with the Colorado Hazardous Waste Regulations, the Colorado Solid Waste Regulations, and Water Quality Control Commission Regulations 31 and 41.

Section 8.0 - Reporting
A final report describing various aspects of the property must be prepared by the IH to document the decontamination process and demonstrate that the property has been decontaminated to the cleanup levels listed in Section 7.0. The final report must include a comprehensive compendium of documents and checks.


The appendices contain the details, the flesh about the bones, as it were. In the appendices, the Industrial Hygienist and the remediation contractor can find the "nuts and bolts" of how the work is to be performed, and the rationale of why.

Since the promulgation of the standards, many myths have emerged surrounding the new regulations.

Myth 1
The new regulations have no teeth.

The facts:
The regulation as codified in CRS 25-18.5-103 REQUIRES a property owner to meet the clean-up standard or demolish the property. Many counties are placing a definitive time-frame on how quickly this process must take place.

The regulation has teeth, to be sure, and gives the authority to enforce the regulations directly to the county, city, town or even law enforcement agency with claimed jurisdiction over that venue.

Myth 2
Tenant / property owner has the right to remove their personal items from the property after the bust or notification.

The facts:
Pursuant to CRS 25-18.5-103 (3), NO PERSONNEL PROPERTY WHATSOEVER, including cars, clothing, personal items, or any other thing "subject to ownership" may be removed from the property until it complies with the regulations. Meaning that either it must be properly destroyed, or it has been cleared for removal by an industrial hygienist, or it is being removed, by a duly trained and authorized party (usually a contractor) to a secure location where it will then be properly destroyed or cleared for removal by an industrial hygienist, or decontaminated in a fashion that has been based on an Industrial Hygienist's preliminary assessment.

Unless these conditions are met, NO PERSONNEL PROPERTY WHATSOEVER may be removed by any person.

Myth 3
Following the bust or notification, the tenant or property owner may reenter the house.

The facts:
Pursuant to CRS 25-18.5-104, if a structure OR vehicle has been determined to be contaminated or if a Governing Body or Law Enforcement Agency issues a notice of "probable contamination," no person may enter the property or vehicle unless the person is trained or certified to handle contaminated property pursuant to board rules or federal law. Otherwise, NO entry may take place by the owner, or the tenants. The "Governing Body" may secure the structure themselves by placing their own locks on the entrance to control access.

Myth 4
The tenant has the unchallenged right to their personal property, after the bust, and the landlord is responsible for that property.

The facts:
Pursuant to CRS 25-18.5-103(1)(b) the owner of any personal property within a structure OR vehicle contaminated by illegal drug laboratory activity has ten days after the date of discovery of the laboratory or contamination to make appropriate arrangements to assess the property by an industrial hygienist or secure for assessment, or destruction. If, within those ten days, the owner of the personal property fails to comply with the regulations, the owner of the structure may take possession of the items or vehicles and may dispose of that personal property in any manner consistent with the regulations (including cleaning the items and selling them).

Myth 5
Tenants may clean their own items and then remove them.

The facts:
Cleaning of personal belongings is not permitted until those items have been assessed by an industrial hygienist (See Myth 7).

Following the assessment, only those parties who have been properly trained may perform the decontamination.

Myth 6
Unless methamphetamine was actually being manufactured, the property isn't a "meth lab."

The facts:
Virtually ANY methamphetamine related activities, including smoking meth or otherwise using methamphetamines within a residence is sufficient to categorize the property as an "illegal drug laboratory" pursuant to the regulations. Pursuant to CRS 25-18.5-101(2.7), Definitions, an illegal drug laboratory is defined as "...the areas where controlled substances, as defined by section 18-18-102, C.R.S., have been manufactured, processed, cooked, disposed of, used, or stored and all proximate areas that are likely to be contaminated as a result of such manufacturing, processing, cooking, disposal, use, or storing.

Smoking methamphetamine in a property therefore meets one of the criteria of the definition of a drug laboratory. This broad scope is necessary since studies have shown that smoking meth in a residence can result in as much contamination or even more contamination than production and synthesis.

Myth 7
Only a Certified Industrial Hygienist can perform the assessment and verification sampling.

The facts:
The regulations do not require the services of a certified industrial hygienist. Any industrial hygienist meeting the requirements of Colorado Revised Statute CRS 24-30-1402 and the requirements of 6 CCR 1014-3 is permitted to perform the work. However, not every industrial hygienist or certified industrial hygienist necessarily meets the training requirements of 6 CCR 1014-3; which explicitly require an industrial hygienist to be proficient in, and have experience with, meth-labs. Therefore, just because a consultant is an actual industrial hygienist does not mean they may perform the role of the consultant.

Any organization who represents itself as being authorized to perform the work, but who do not actually meet the necessary requirements, not only face the very real threat of future litigation losses being subrogated to them (when their clients find out they have not gained the liability immunity as described by HB1182), but those consultants could also face criminal charges of fraud pursuant to Title 18 of the Colorado Revised Statutes Article 5, Part 301 Section 1(e), punishable by a minimum of 3 months in prison (maximum 12 months in prison).

Myth 8
Cars are exempt.

The facts:
According to the new regulations, all vehicles including private passenger cars, vans, trucks trailers, RVs, and campers are covered by the regulations.

If a police officer or a Sheriff's Deputy stops a car during a "routine traffic stop," and identifies methamphetamine in the vehicle, that vehicle would be considered an illegal drug lab as defined by the new regulations.

Myth 9
The State Board of Health enforces the regulations.

The facts:
The statutes explicitly placed the onus of responsibility of enforcement on the local level. According to SB 05-217, if the city council or board of county commissioners where the property in question is located has NOT designated who the governing body will be, then the governing body automatically becomes the local health department, building department, and law enforcement agency. And these are the agencies that can enact their own fines, fees, and charges in order to finance the enforcement efforts.

Myth 10
The regulations require testing to determine if a meth-lab is present.

The facts:
Nowhere in the regulation is the collection of samples or testing required to determine if a property is a meth-lab. Consultants who do not understand this, are, by that very fact, not authorized to do the work, since they lack sufficient understanding of the regulation to comply with it.

Myth 11
If a consultant does go into a property and finds meth contamination, but that contamination is less than 0.5 ug/100cm2, then the property is OK, and not covered by the regulations.

The facts:
False! If a consultant arbitrarily chooses non-mandatory sampling at the beginning of the assessment process, and those samples result in any contamination, even below the State's value of 0.5 ug/100cm2, then the property MUST be declared a meth-lab. The initial declaration is NOT necessarily based on testing - the initial declaration is found within the language of the mandatory Attachment to Appendix A of the regulation (Hypothesis Testing). Therefore, any consultant who has declared a property to not be a meth-lab based on such initial testing, faces not only civil liability, but may also face criminal liability by accepting work they were not qualified to perform. There is no de minimis concentration of methamphetamine at the beginning of the assessment process below which, a property could be declared "not a meth lab" or "not of regulatory concern. "

The single exception to this, would be if the consultant, while attempting to test the initial assessment hypothesis failed to so do, and by virtue of that work simultaneously performed the work as required by the regulation for a post decontamination assessment, and similarly failed to support the post decontamination hypothesis - only then could the preliminary assessment results be used to derive a "decision statement" and declare the property compliant with State regulation.

Liability immunity is gained exclusively by following the process described in the State regulation and concluding that process with a "Decision Statement" as found in Appendix A of the Regulation. If any deviation to that process occurs, the property cannot be declared compliant and the consultant is not at liberty to arbitrarily declare that the property is not a concern, or that there was no meth-lab present.

Myth 12
Colorado's "clearance level" is 0.5 ug of methamphetamine per 100cm2

The facts:
This is a myth, usually promoted by unauthorized industrial hygienists and unauthorized consultants. There are many situations wherein the residual meth concentrations are inconsequential and may be far below the numerical value of 0.5 ug/100cm2, but the lab has not met the statutory requirements for clearance. The "clearance level" in Colorado is referred to as a "decision level" for a very good reason, and a "decision statement" can only be made under well defined parameters. We anticipate many future law suits arising out of the fact that some meth-labs are being declared "clean," by ill-informed consultants based on sampling, when in fact, those labs are not clean, have not met State regulations, and the property owner has not achieved liability immunity.

Since it is not the role of the governing body to approve or prohibit any particular data package, the unsuspecting property owner may presume that because the data package has been accepted by the governing body, it is acceptable and the property owner has obtained liability immunity. The property owner may not find out that their data package is not acceptable until they are facing a toxic tort law suit from a subsequent property occupant.

Myth 13
A methlab clean-up company can test my home and clean the contamination if they find it.

The facts:
Several remediation companies, especially commercial clean-up companies are selling "comprehensive" meth tests claiming to test a home for meth, and then offering to clean the property. Although this is prohibited by State Statute and by State Regulation, many home owners have been duped into the service.

According to State regulations, following the discovery of evidence of methamphetamine contamination or any other indicator of an illegal drug lab, no cleaning may occur until a Preliminary Assessment has been issued by a legitimate Industrial Hygienist specifically trained in clandestine drug lab issues.

If cleaning occurs, the property owner will not receive the statutory liability shield, and will still be required to perform the Preliminary Assessment, and may end up having to pay for two separate clean-up actions.

Any testing done by remediation companies is unofficial and cannot be used for regulatory purposes or to comply with any Colorado State statutes or regulations.

Myth 14
Decontamination Products can be simply sprayed on the surfaces, to achieve decontamination.

The facts:
Several manufacturers have been marketing "wonder" products they claim will magically decontaminate methlabs. However, some of the manufactures such as "Green Decon" and "Decon ProGreen" make claims that are not only unsupportable, but are physically and chemically impossible. For example, Decon ProGreen has claimed "Tests have shown that the process obliterates the chemical components used to manufacture Meth, leaving a safe environment for human habitation." However, many of the materials used to manufacture methamphetamine are toxic regardless of the molecular structure and cannot be "obliterated" and must be removed. Miracle products are seldom what they seem, and in general, good cleaning cannot be substituted with cleaning products.

In some states, cleaning products that contain hydrogen peroxide or other kinds of oxidizers are prohibited since these products can alter the surrogate compounds used to determine compliance without removing the otherwise unidentified decontaminants that may remain.

According to Colorado regulations, surfaces must be washed with a water based material. Remediation companies that merely spray chemicals on surfaces and allow those to react as a sole remediation process not only violate State regulations by using this technique, but also, testing has demonstrated that the properties are still contaminated following the process. (See for example the Hooker Street critical review for details.)

Currently, there is no meth-lab assessment training courses being provided by trained personnel.

Special thanks to Jan Buitron, MSc IA, CISSP, Doctoral Candidate in Computer Science for her reviews, criticisms and comments.

This page was revised January 5, 2017.

To return to our main methamphetamine discussion, click here.

To learn how to recognize the signs of a methlab, click here.

For a discussion of errors on the El Paso County Department of Health and Environment January 8th, 2009 flier, click here.

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