Several months have passed, since I was first contacted by Rhonda Holt from Winchester, TN, and my most recent conversation with her was distressing. Despite all of what they have gone through, they still have a very steep hill to climb before they can see over the mountain of debt and health problems they’re facing and they are quickly losing hope that they will ever move back in to what was once their dream home. Rhonda has asked me to share more about their meth lab home story, so that others might learn from it. When they bought their house,the Holts tried hard to make their new house a “home”. They removed carpeting, replaced flooring, and painted all the walls and ceilings, which included applying a primer coat of Kilz. Five years later, all of the new carpeting, floors, and the walls that they painted didn’t matter. A conversation that Rhonda had with a neighbor and test results that they obtained from an industrial hygienist revealed that their home was still highly contaminated with meth lab chemicals. My first thought was the contamination had been spread by the heating and air conditioning system in the house. As meth is cooked, toxin-filled-vapors rise and get pulled in to the duct system in the house. Once the toxins are in the duct system, heating unit and/or air conditioning unit, they can then flow right back in to the house via the circulated air. Some say the duct systems can be decontaminated, others say they can’t and should be replaced. Although, replacement the heating and air conditioning unit is probably the safest route to take, it is yet another additional financial burden to families who are already struggling to pay for the clean up of their meth lab homes. Today, Rhonda and Jason Holt and their three young children are still living with Jason’s parents, wondering when they will ever be able to move back in to their home. Rhonda says her young son wonders that too. Recently, he’s been asking his mother a question that is difficult for her to answer -“when can we go back home?” Her daughter, who continues to have serious breathing problems, is going to see yet another specialist. Rhonda says “they are concerned about her heart now”. Sadly, Rhonda says her daughter no longer says “home” when they drive by the house. Rhonda says it is getting more difficult for her and Jason to hold on to the hope that their situation will ever be resolved. The $78,000 cost of making their home “safe to live in” is beyond the reach of the Holts , who are still paying $1200 a month in mortgage payments for a home they can’t live in. As you can imagine, money is tight. So tight, Rhonda tells me, that they can’t even afford to have a phone line installed in the house and she is forced to use the phone belonging to her in-laws. That troubles Rhonda and Jason, who don’t want to place any further burdens on his parents. Yet, they have no choice but to live with Jason’s parents, until they can move back in to their home. Part I – Ever since we bought the house . . . *click on the play button (the triangle shape) to listen to what Rhonda told Meth Lab Homes about her family’s experience.
Click here to hear Part II of Rhonda Holt’s testimony about how living in a former meth lab home changed the life of her family.