Meth lab waste. Photo courtesy Langlade County Sheriff's Office.

WALWORTH COUNTY — Earth Day is when many groups typically head out to area highways and roadsides to do a spring clean up.

But Wisconsin’s Department of Justice is warning about a danger lurking alongside the road — discarded meth lab waste.

In a recent Facebook post, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services explained what to look for, and advised people to call law enforcement of they encounter suspicious trash.

Meth waste can be deadly. If you encounter any of these items, DO NOT TOUCH IT. Note the location and report it to local law enforcement.

Any of the following containers:

  • Rubbing alcohol, acetone, break fluid, paint thinner, drain cleaner, engine starting fluid, camping fuel
  • Rubber gloves
  • Plastic soda bottles or glass cookware with rubber hoses attached
  • Containers of sulfuric, muriatic or phosphoric acid
  • Cat litter
  • Respirator masks
  • Bed sheets or pillowcases stained red or containing a white powdery residue
  • Medicine boxes or blister packs from over the counter cold and asthma medicines, pill residue (putty looking
    substance pink to red in color)
  • Lithium batteries that appear to be unrolled
  • Plastic or rubber tubing, hoses and clamps

The most common way to make meth in Wisconsin is the “one pot” or “shake and bake” method. Ingredients are poured into a plastic soda bottle (one pot) and then shaken (shake and bake).

Pressure from shaking can cause the bottle to burst, exposing the victim to third-degree burns.

If meth is absorbed through the victim’s skin, they could overdose resulting in death.

Propane cylinders from grills are used to transport anhydrous ammonia that can burn skin and cause
severe respiratory damage. The brass fittings on the tanks will turn a blue-green color and can explode when
moved. If you find propane cylinders that look like this, DO NOT TOUCH THEM.


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By Dan Plutchak

Dan Plutchak launched Walworth County Community News in 2021. He is the former editor of The Week and Walworth County Sunday.