Frequently Asked Questions

Clandestine Lab Cleanup Problems for Landlords

One of my tenants had a drug lab in one of my apartments, what happens next?

That is a serious problem. In California the CUPA rules will be enforced , usually by the Local Fire Department. The property owner is responsible for the cleanup. Usually the person who caused the problem is either in jail or running away as fast as they can. That leaves the property owner responsible for cleaning up the mess left behind. There are several steps that need to happen. Skipping steps and trying for a short cut usually causes more cost in the long run. Remember the old adage “ A stingy man always pays more”. It is very true in the clandestine laboratory cleanup business.

Here is a short version of what you will need to do:


            1.         Have a certified industrial hygienist (CIH) survey the site and make a cleanup plan.

            2.         Hire a licensed, experienced contractor to conduct the cleanup.

            3.         Have the CIH, test the cleaned up unit for residue, and compliance with the plan.

Where do I find a certified industrial hygienist (CIH) ?

Go to HTTP://, specifically Find a CIH near you. Ask them if they have experience with laboratory cleanup projects. Use experience, rather than cost. The cost of the CIH will be a very small part of the overall costs for this project. The more experienced CIH will save you money and time by helping you select the right cleanup contractor. A legitimate CIH will always have at least three cleanup contractors for you to choose from.

Where do I find a cleanup contractor?

See previous question. Your CIH is usually the best source for a good cleanup contractor. They will know who passes the clearance testing and who has the staff and experience to do the work correctly and on time.

Are there any clauses in the cleanup contract that I should be aware of?

The cleanup contractor should have a liquidated damages clause in his contract. They should be allowed to have sufficient time to implement the CIH cleanup plan, but they should be responsible for any re-cleaning and retesting costs.

I understand that many cleanup efforts fail several times, is that true?

The clearance criteria is very low, each Agency may have different criteria for a clearance test. In many instances the unit may have to be demolished to the studs to be cleared. There have been instances where the contamination was so bad that the entire building had to be demolished because of the chemicals used in the drug laboratory.

What should I look for when I select a CIH?

Look for experience, a good CIH is a good source for finding a good cleanup contractor, however a cleanup contractor is generally not the best source for your CIH. Hire a CIH who has the equipment, experience and who has a location, office, licenses and insurance. Be careful there are people who are not qualified Certified Industrial Hygienists who will say they are qualified or just as qualified. If they were they would be Certified Industrial Hygienists. Your CIH will keep the cleanup contractor in line and enforce the various parts of the cleanup plan.

I have other Questions, who can I call?

You can call the local fire department. Ask for the HAZMAT Team, they may be able to provide you with some more guidance. Google the local fire department hazmat. Eg “LA fire hazmat” You can always call me. Dan Napier, CIH 800-644-1924 x 103

CUPA,” Drug Lab Cleanup”, ‘drug lab’, “Drug Laboratory” , “illegal laboratory”,CIH, HAZMAT,”California drug lab cleanup”,”clandestine lab cleanup”

©Dan Napier 10/4/2021