HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Cops Fear Grow-Op Exposure
Pubdate: Sun, 29 Aug 2004
Source: Edmonton Sun (CN AB)
Copyright: 2004, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Doug Beazley, Edmonton Sun
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Canada)
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


It's more than just smoking the stuff that's bad for your health. Canada's 
police chiefs are calling on the federal government to launch a study into 
the health effects for police officers who bust marijuana grow operations 

The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police is particularly worried about 
toxic mould often found in damp, poorly ventilated illegal grow-ops.

"Large amounts of moisture in MGO confined spaces create and encourage the 
growth of many micro-organisms and indoor species of mould," said the 
resolution, passed last week at the CACP's annual conference in Vancouver.

Some mould varieties are toxic, and can cause respiratory illnesses. One 
veteran of the Edmonton Police Service Green Team said it's something he 
and his colleagues worry about.

"It's not as bad as busting meth labs - it's a little more organic," said 
Det. Clayton Sach. "But yeah, it's a concern.

"Some of these places are so clean you could eat off the floor. Some of 
them are pretty nasty ... you can see the black mould just creeping out of 
the drywall.

"One of the places we busted in that Mill Woods sweep back in the spring 
was so mouldy, it looked like someone had filled a garden hose with mud and 
just sprayed every wall and ceiling."

Police raided three addresses in Mill Woods in late April, seizing roughly 
$2 million in plants, cash and bank drafts. One of the homes was condemned 
by Capital Health two weeks later, in part due to widespread mould 

Grow-ops also use large amounts of pesticides and fungicides to keep plants 
healthy. Between the mold and the poisons, said Capital Health's medical 
officer of health, it's not hard for someone exposed to a grow-op to get 
seriously sick.

"If you actually live in the house, these agents can be dangerous," said 
Dr. Gerry Predy. "Some people are sensitive to mould, and can end up with 
short-term respiratory problems. Long-term exposure to some of these 
pesticides can cause cancers, nervous-system disorders and breathing problems."
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