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August 25, 2003

Purdue Extension alerts farmers to anhydrous and meth lab risks

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service workshop on Sept. 3 will give farmers tips on preventing anhydrous ammonia theft and explain their liability if others use it to produce illegal drugs.

The workshop, which will take place at the Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds community building, runs from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Gail Deboy, an agricultural safety specialist in Purdue's Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, said the workshop also will teach farmers and emergency personnel how to react in the event of an anhydrous ammonia release or meth lab emergency.

In addition to its use as a farm fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia is used to manufacture methamphetamine, an illegal drug that's gaining popularity throughout the United States.

"We've seen a rise in the number of methamphetamine labs discovered around the state," Deboy said. "In 2002, approximately 1,000 methamphetamine labs were seized in Indiana, as compared to only six in 1995."

This rapid increase in the number of meth labs and the resultant theft of anhydrous ammonia from farms is why it's important that emergency personnel and farmers be aware of the dangers and know the appropriate actions to take, he said.

Workshop sessions include:

• Physical properties of anhydrous ammonia and supply tank features.

• Liability and legal issues of farmers and emergency response personnel.

• Law enforcement concerns with methamphetamine production labs.

• Safety and security measures.

The event is free, but registration is requested. To register, call the Purdue Extension office in Hendricks County at (317) 745-9260. Registrations including name, organization, address and phone also can be faxed to (317) 745-9267 or mailed to P.O. Box 7, Danville, IN 46122.

The Hendricks County 4-H Fairgrounds is located at 955 E. Main St. in Danville, Ind.

Writer: Kay Hagen, (765) 494-6682, kjh@purdue.edu

Source: Gail Deboy, (765) 496-2377, deboy@ecn.purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; Beth Forbes, bforbes@aes.purdue.edu; http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/AgComm/public/agnews/


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