HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Harrison County officials say an increase in portable meth labs has them concerned about the safety of county employees. Officials say last week a road worker picking up trash came across a discarded Shake-and-Bake meth lab.
Shake-and-Bake is also referred to as the one pot method. Narcotics officers say instead of doing one chemical process at a time, everything is dumped into one container and shaken. Officers say because of that, Shake-and-Bake is highly volatile and more likely to cause an explosion.
Shake and Bake allows meth manufactures to easily dispose of chemicals. That's what worries Harrison County officials. So next week they will put on information workshops on how to spot these labs.
Officials say last week workers saw a routine job of picking up litter turn into a scary situation.
"My foreman had called me and told me about an incident with one of the employees that had encountered a plastic bag that was partially inflated," said Harrison County Sand Beach Director Bobby Weaver. "As he attempted to puncture it to pick it up, it somewhat exploded. A plume of smoke came out. Turned out it was the remnants of a crystal meth, Shake-and-Bake."
The Shake-and-Bake lab was found on Carr Bridge Road, a rural area off of Highway 67. Officials say the employee was fortunate not to be seriously injured.
Harrison County Safety Officer Rena Wiggins said, "You've got those dangerous chemicals. If it's still active and they try to open one of those bottles or open that, they could be exposed to chemical burns or the fumes which could give them problems with their respiratory system."
County officials say this isn't the first incident and likely not to be the last. They say these discarded labs are becoming more common, and they want employees to know the signs of potentially toxic trash.
"We're seeing the 20-ounce coke bottles and the two-litter coke bottles with tubing coming out of them sometimes wrapped with electrical tape," said Wiggins. "A lot of times they're in just plastic bags. If it looks like a plastic bottle with sand and water in it and tubing in it, then that's something they need to stay away from."
Weaver said, "I didn't realize the full extent of this Shake-and-Bake method. We were told that if it had been a full mixture, it could have been very serious for the employee. He could have been hurt or possibly killed."
"We knew that you encounter those things around the bridges," said Weaver. "We just didn't know those things could be thrown out of vehicle windows and could be anywhere. "
Harrison County officials say approximately 200 employees will be receiving the training. Citizens are also urged to be careful when picking up litter and to notify police of any suspicious trash.