GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - In the US, 2.5 million homes have been contaminated by meth lab chemicals. When buying a home in Mississippi, real estate companies must acknowledge if they are aware of any problems which may exist with the property, including Methamphetamine labs. However, that's no guarantee for the buyer.
Jennifer Bailey told WLOX News she found that out the hard way when she bought a home in the quiet neighborhood of College Park in Gulfport.
"I signed the papers January the 15th of '09, but he let me move in December of '08," Bailey said.
After living in the home for a few months, Bailey said she suffered from various ailments.
"I have lead, arsenic and mercury in my body," Bailey stated.
Bailey was shocked to learn her home was once the site of a meth lab. Almost a year and a half before she bought the house at 2407 Middlecoff Drive, Gulfport Police were there to make a meth bust.
"No one had ever told me anything about this being a meth house. Was it busted? They had precursors, nothing... until my neighbor told me."
That's when Bailey decided to have the home tested for the dangerous chemicals used to make meth.
"I had the first lab tech come in here and they put a little white thing on there, a square, it was a ten-by-twelve."
Dave Bingham with Micro-Methods Laboratory inspected Bailey's home.
"We definitely tested the kitchen and we had a positive result from Methamphetamine above what we consider a clean level," Bingham said.
More than four years after the meth bust, Bailey said meth residue continues to drip down walls, coming down from the attic. The streaks are easily visible on the bathroom walls and inside the cabinets.
Bailey should have known that a meth lab was in this house before she bought it. Property owners are required to tell potential buyers on the official disclosure statement. But Bailey said on her paperwork, the "No" box was checked on the line that covers meth.
Bailey bought the house from Jay and Marie Schroeder, Gulfport realtors who owned the property. According to a letter from the Gulfport Police Department, the Schroeders also owned the home at the time of the meth bust.
On August 6, 2007, the Gulfport Police Department's Special Operations Narcotics Division sent the Schroeders a letter to inform them that a meth lab was discovered in and about the residence at 2407 Middlecoff Drive. The police department advised the Schroeders that the home should be cleaned and sterilized by professionals to avoid any sickness related to possible toxins remaining in the home.
Bailey said she shared what she learned with Jay Schroeder and he promised to cover the costs for the tests.
"When we gave him the results, he still did nothing about it," Bailey recalled. "I started seeking attorneys because I needed help to get this matter taken care of. I was requesting him just to give me back to what I gave him for this house. I wasn't asking for nothing more."
I spoke with Marie Schroeder on the telephone and she said she had no comment and hung up.
I also spoke with Jay Schroeder's attorney, who told me he could not comment because Bailey is suing the Schroeders.