If you are a fan of “Breaking Bad” you doubtlessly recall the montage near the end of the series set to the song “Crystal Blue Persuasion” which succinctly demonstrated the ease with which a smoothly running meth production operation could transform the typical suburban house in American into a meth lab while the owners were away with them being none the wiser upon returning. Yeah, sure, it is just a TV show and we must always remember that it is of vital importance to understand that what you see on TV is not necessarily based entirely on real life. That rule applies especially to the crime against nature known as “Reality Shows” that have been perpetrated upon an unsuspecting public. As for the supposedly more fictional and therefore less real TV drama known as “Breaking Bad,” it turns out that there was probably much realism at play in that few minutes of that musical montage than in any single season of “The Bachelor,” “Storage Wars” and “Keeping up with the Kardashians” combined.
Just how positive can you be that all the thousands of real life Walter Whites out there have not been cooking meth inside your home while you were away on vacation or having your home fumigated? For that matter, how sure are you that your kids or spouse or friends or housemates are not smoking meth while you are at work or school? As for moving into a previously owned house, well, do you honestly believe that you are going to get the full, unvarnished skinny on meth use or production inside that home unless police activity was involved?
One misguided lesson in assuming TV shows are equitable with realism that you can take from “Breaking Bad” is that the Southwest is the meth capital of the U.S. Gus Fring and Walter White may have made very good livings as meth kingpins overseeing an empire down there in the bottom left corner of America, but the real meth capital of the U.S. for most of the century has been Missouri. Between 1998 and 2010, more than 12,000 meth labs were discovered in Missouri . And that’s just 10% of the total number of meth labs discovered in America by the DEA between 1998 and 2008. Meaning that taking the idea that homes across the country are being used in a way not terribly dissimilar from that “Crystal Blue Persuasion” montage in “Breaking Bad.”
So let’s get back to the question at hand: just how sure are you that Walter White has never been inside your home?
If you have reason to suspect that your home has possibly been used as a meth lab or suspect continued meth use there, look upward. See that fan hanging innocently from the ceiling? A ceiling fan could become the smoking gun of forensic evidence pointing to the production or use of meth in your home. All those toxic chemicals used to produce meth rise into the air as microscopic particles that can become embedded in the blades of a ceiling fan. It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to clean away the evidence of meth production from walls, floors and ceilings. Ceiling fans are another matter. For one thing, they are easy to overlook and forget about. For another, to genuinely get ceiling fans as clean as possible, you need to unscrew the blades and remove them and then put them back. Or else buy replacement blades. Which is just a bit too labor-intensive for many meth cooks and users. When the ceiling fans in question are placed on a very high ceiling that requires a very tall ladder, the odds of the evidence of meth use still clinging to the surface of the blades only increases.
So, then, if you really do have reason to suspect that the home you live in or the house you are thinking of buying might have been the location for a meth lab, one of the best places to start your investigation is hanging from the ceiling. The investment of a meth testing kit used on that ceiling fan could potentially be one of the best investments you ever make.