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Meth Labs and Propane Cylinders

A recent warning from the National Propane Gas Association highlights additional dangers from the production of methamphetamine.

Anhydrous ammonia is a common ingredient in the production of methamphetamine and adds to the growing list of hazards found at incidents involving meth labs. According to a release (no pun intended) by the National Propane Gas Association, anhydrous ammonia has been found to be stored and pressurized in consumer-grade propane tanks. The safety alert notes that anhydrous will corrode a
nd deteriorate the brass service valves of a propane tank. The brass turns to a blue-green stain after exposure to anhydrous ammonia. There is no mention of time frame to failure/or quantity/concentration of anhydrous ammonia that will cause deterioration or failure of the service valve. It is noted that if the valve shows evidence of exposure to anhydrous ammonia it can't be trusted and it may be dangerous to move the cylinder. Valve failure may result in a violent discharge of the valve...resulting in injuries.

Many responders have been made aware of the dangers of meth lab incidents. We know to consider the chemical hazards as well and physical hazards at
these locations and to be mindful that meth labs exist in nearly every jurisdiction, even on the highway. We also know to consider ammonia of various types in refrigeration and fertilizing operations, as well as in the residential setting as used for cleaning and disinfection in the commercial setting.

The issue of improper storage of anhydrous ammonia and the potential for service valve failure is just the tip of the iceberg. Propane tanks that have had anhydrous ammonia stored in them may be found in retail centers, craft stores, or any other location that offers a trade-in circulation for consumer-grade propane cylinders. This situation has to be added to your pre-planning and situational awareness.

Click here for the Safety Alerts page of the National Propane Gas Association. All photos courtesy of the National Propane Gas Association.


  1. Please put this information out to ALL personnel. This message was sent to me and I thought it should be shared. I personally do not exchange my propane tank. For those of you that do, this is something you definitely need to be aware of, especially in light of the recent news of "Meth-labs" in our area.


    Crystal Meth Addiction

  2. In a methamphetamine laboratory, the producer often handles ignitable, corrosive, reactive and toxic chemicals in the presence of flame or heat. Some of these substances are extremely harmful or lethal when inhaled or touched; others react when they are heated, immersed in water, exposed to air or combined. These corrosive and reactive materials are often the reason that a meth lab may explode. This link contains excellent sources of information regarding the dangers of production and exposure, and descriptions of what to do about the possible existence of a clandestine laboratory, so use this as carefully.


    Crystal Meth Addiction


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