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Unborn baby tests positive for METH as Missouri parents-to-be discover their home was a drugs lab

A Missouri couple say they discovered their four-bedroom family home was a former meth lab after their unborn baby tested positive for the highly addictive drug. 

Pregnant Elisha Hessel and her husband Tyler, who both have no history of substance abuse, were left stunned after a routine blood test showed amphetamines in Elisha and their baby girl’s system. 

After being questioned by doctors the pair began looking into possible explanations and were shocked to discover their Jefferson County house they had recently purchased had been busted in by police in 2013. 

A home test then revealed unsafe levels of the drug with further checks showing the ventilation system in the house was still heavily contaminated with methamphetamine and meth-making residue.

Elisha said: ‘Through speaking with neighbors and kind of getting hints here and there I went ahead and bought a test over the internet and tested it myself and it did come back with unsafe levels in the home.

‘It’s very upsetting. This is our first house. There was a lot of crying, a lot of confusion.’

Elisha Hessel and her husband Tyler, who both have no history of substance abuse, were left stunned after a routine blood test showed amphetamines in Elisha and their baby girl’s system

The couple say they discovered their four-bedroom family home, pictured, was a former meth lab after their unborn baby tested positive for the highly addictive drug

The couple say they discovered their four-bedroom family home, pictured, was a former meth lab after their unborn baby tested positive for the highly addictive drug

The Jefferson County house they had recently purchased had been busted in by police in 2013. Pictured is the drug paraphernalia found in the home

The Jefferson County house they had recently purchased had been busted in by police in 2013. Pictured is the drug paraphernalia found in the home  

She added: ‘We were basically contaminating ourselves every day that we were in there, especially for the baby. 

‘I am glad in a roundabout way that we found out because I would not want my baby here. We could have had a child here herring sick and not knowing why.’ 

HOW DID THEIR UNBORN BABY TEST POSITIVE FOR METH?

When methamphetamine is smoked or produced inside a home, the vaporized crystals can stay long after the user has left.  

The Hessels’ home was included on Jefferson County’s list meth lab seizures from 2013. 

Six years later and it still has dangerously high levels of methamphetamine residue.

Any level above 0.5 micrograms can cause adverse health effects to the occupants. 

Dr Jackie Wright told ABC Australia: ‘From both manufacture and use, those drug residues deposit and stick to all of the hard surfaces in the property.

‘But they also penetrate all the soft things, so furnishings, carpets and curtains.

‘So whenever you’re in the house, you’re exposed and it’s getting in your body.

‘What we’re seeing is effects such as headaches, persistent coughs, increased susceptibility to coughs, colds and infections, eye irritations, skin rashes, trouble sleeping for kids, and vivid dreams.’

Director of the Office of Substance Misuse and Addiction Prevention at the Department of Health and Social Services Andy Jones told KDLG: ‘When you smoke it, it’s basically invisible. So even if meth is smoked once in a home, you’ll find traces, somehow, throughout the house.’

The couple, who had been trying for a baby for three years before falling pregnant, told KHOU they have since abandoned the home to live with Elisha’s mother. 

They have been forced to leave behind their new nursery, furniture and pictures.  

Elisha, who is due in mid January, said: ‘Everybody wants to have their own home when they bring their baby home. A lot of it’s the disappointment and being upset over it, but I have definitely been angry over it as well.’

Police raided the home in 2013 following a tip off where they said they found supplies often used to make meth burning in the backyard.

Anyone selling a house in Missouri is required to tell the buyer if the home has ever been used as a drug lab but nobody told the Hessels, who found their address on Jefferson County’s list meth lab seizures from 2013. 

Environmental expert Tom Alford was hired by the Hessels  to look into the levels of contamination. He said: ‘It’s a finer vapor, so it just kind of bleeds through and bleeds through. The longest span I have tested was 11 and a half years and it was positive after it was already cleared. 

‘As these materials off-gas and they’re coming through paint, they’re coming through, they’re coming out of cabinetry, they’re coming out of flooring. 

‘It’s spread through your HVAC system. It takes air from everywhere, turns it around, you inhale that, it gets into your lungs, it spreads out. And then all of a sudden, one day, you take your test and there you are. You have it.’

Jefferson County undersheriff Timothy Whitney said: ‘To put it in perspective we were investigating about 300 meth labs a year and so for them this particular incident really wouldn’t have raised a lot of red flags that manufacturing was actually happening there. 

‘When you look at the numbers, Jefferson County led the St Louis region, the state and the nation in meth lab seizures. We could have looked the other way, but as an agency, we decided to go headlong at the problem. 

‘There wasn’t evidence that day at that time to suggest that distribution or manufacturing was going on.’

There is no record of the home being tested in 2013 and it later became property of the bank, another buyer and finally the Hessels. 

The couple, who had been trying for a baby for three years before falling pregnant, told KHOU they have since abandoned the home to live with Elisha's mother

The couple, who had been trying for a baby for three years before falling pregnant, told KHOU they have since abandoned the home to live with Elisha’s mother

Police raided the home in 2013 following a tip off where they said they found supplies often used to make meth burning in the backyard. Six years later and it still has dangerously high levels of methamphetamine residue

Police raided the home in 2013 following a tip off where they said they found supplies often used to make meth burning in the backyard. Six years later and it still has dangerously high levels of methamphetamine residue

The Hessels have been quoted $100,000 to clean up their contaminated home. A home test then revealed unsafe levels of the drug with further checks showing the ventilation system in the house is heavily contaminated with methamphetamine and meth-making residue

The Hessels have been quoted $100,000 to clean up their contaminated home. A home test then revealed unsafe levels of the drug with further checks showing the ventilation system in the house is heavily contaminated with methamphetamine and meth-making residue

Whitney said he would change his clothes after leaving meth labs and wash his clothes separately. He added: ‘I was worried about tracking those contaminants within my own house. I never thought six years down the road, you know, of it impacting an unborn child.’ 

The Hessels have been quoted $100,000 to clean up their contaminated home with drywall needing pulling out and ventilation systems replaced. 

Elisha will also be tested again at the baby’s birth and if the levels are still high the Children’s Division of the Department of Social Services will get involved. 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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