Your house on drugs

When authorities discover a “meth house,” they decontaminate it by removing chemicals, ripping out carpeting, cleaning walls, and airing the place out for a few days. But Glenn Morrison, an associate professor of environmental engineering, wonders if the decontamination methods are sufficient to protect future occupants from exposure to methamphetamine and other chemicals.


“Most people who live in a former meth house don’t even know it,” he says. “And some hotel rooms have also been contaminated.”
Morrison received a $116,000 grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology to research the interactions between building materials and the chemicals used in meth labs.
Meth cooks use a potent combination of ingredients, including ammonia, methanol, ether, benzene and reactive metals. According to Morrison, the chemicals penetrate into materials like paint, wood and vinyl fl ooring and then “slowly come back to the surface over time.”
Morrison is concerned that children who make contact with the surfaces will ingest methamphetamine. Also, he says, lingering methamphetamine can be released into the air, where it bonds with tiny chemicals that are floating around. This means meth could be inhaled, even months to years after rooms were thoroughly cleaned.
“We want to be comfortable with the cleaning methods,” Morrison says. “Are these methods sufficiently protective? How much should people be concerned about living in a former meth house?”
Morrison is leading the Missouri S&T study in conjunction with researchers at the University of Texas-Austin. In order to see how the chemicals interact with building materials, they plan to examine samples taken from homes after a bust and clean-up.

Around the Puck

Generous partners complete ACML fundraising

Thanks to an investment from the University of Missouri System, major gifts from industry partners and alumni support, S&T will break ground on the Advanced Construction and Materials Laboratory (ACML) on Oct. 12, during Homecoming weekend.

[Read More...]

Alumni help with sesquicentennial planning

Seven alumni, including three Miner Alumni Association board members, have been named to Missouri S&T’s sesquicentennial advisory committee. The group is made up of graduates, students, faculty, staff and community members who are involved in planning the university’s upcoming 150th anniversary celebration.

[Read More...]

Using big data to reduce childbirth risks

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, complications during pregnancy or childbirth affect more than 50,000 women annually, and about 700 of them die every year. Steve Corns, associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering, is working with researchers from Phelps County Regional Medical Center through the Ozarks Biomedical Initiative to reduce […]

[Read More...]

Bogan solves Benton mural mystery

Missouri State Capitol muralist Thomas Hart Benton wrote in his memoir about being called into then-Gov. Guy Park’s office and told that a prominent St. Louis politician objected to Benton’s portrayal of black people, especially depictions of slavery.

[Read More...]

Breaking bias

According to Jessica Cundiff, assistant professor of psychological science at S&T, women who consider careers in the physical sciences, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields are deterred by stereotypes that impose barriers on the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in STEM.

[Read More...]