After years of renting, Jonathan and Beth Hankins were excited to purchase their own home in Klamath Falls, Ore. They found their dream home in a neighborhood of young families. The house had previously been foreclosed on and needed some renovations, so they added a fresh coat of paint, re-tiled the bathrooms and mended the windows before moving in. But within weeks they'd abandoned it.
Soon after moving in, Jonathan Hankins started having nosebleeds and Beth had difficulty breathing. Their 2-year-old son developed sores in his mouth so painful that he refused to even drink water. It was while complaining to a neighbor about their ailments that Jonathan Hankins learned that the house had a sordid past -- it had previously been used as a meth lab. They were far from alone in their discovery. As the widespread illegal use of methamphetamine spread from the West Coast in the early 1990s to become, the Centers for Disease Control reports, a nationwide concern by the mid-2000s, so have the number of makeshift labs where crystal meth is "cooked." Meth labs can leave so much chemical waste in the floors and walls of residences and other buildings that the structures become toxic.
The Hankins family quickly moved out, leaving many of their belongings behind because they suspected that they had been contaminated. But along with the cost of renting a new dwelling, they were still saddled with a mortgage. Watch the video above to see how they took action, and how their experience turned out to have a wider and potentially long-lasting impact.
More about meth-lab homes:
Former Meth Lab Home For Sale -- Just Don't Ask to Look Inside
Family Forced to Tear Down Home With Toxic Meth-Lab Past
New Law Requires Meth Lab Disclosure to New Owners
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