Acute and chronic environmental effects of clandestine methamphetamine waste

Kates, Lisa and Knapp, Charles and Keenan, Helen (2014) Acute and chronic environmental effects of clandestine methamphetamine waste. Science of the Total Environment, 493. pp. 781-788. ISSN 1879-1026 (

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The illicit manufacture of methamphetamine (MAP) produces substantial amounts of hazardous waste that is dumped illegally. This study presents the first environmental evaluation of waste produced from illicit MAP manufacture. Chemical oxygen demand (COD) was measured to assess immediate oxygen depletion effects. A mixture of five waste components (10 mg/L/chemical) was found to have a COD (130 mg/L) higher than the European Union wastewater discharge regulations (125 mg/L). Two environmental partition coefficients, KOW and KOC, were measured for several chemicals identified in MAP waste. Experimental values were input into a computer fugacity model (EPI Suite™) to estimate environmental fate. Experimental log KOW values ranged from−0.98 to 4.91, which were in accordance with computer estimated values. Experimental KOC values ranged from 11 to 72, which were much lower than the default computer values. The experimental fugacity model for discharge to water estimates that waste components will remain in the water compartment for 15 to 37 days. Using a combination of laboratory experimentation and computer modelling, the environmental fate of MAP waste products was estimated. While fugacity models using experimental and computational values were very similar, default computer models should not take the place of laboratory experimentation.