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Clandestine Drug Laboratories

Clandestine Drug Laboratories

What is a clandestine laboratory?

Clandestine drug laboratory services

A clandestine drug laboratory (or ‘clan lab’) is any site associated with the process of attempting to manufacture illicit drugs. Most commonly, clan labs are located in residential properties.

At ChemCentre, we work in conjunction with WA Police to identify, dismantle and analyse clandestine drug laboratories (‘clan labs’). Having performed this role for over 20 years, we are a leading authority on issues surrounding clandestine labs and illicit drug management, including clan lab site risk assessment and remediation.

Chemical hazards and risk assessment

There are numerous chemical hazards and risks associated with a clandestine laboratory. Not only are there chemical hazards related to the drugs manufactured, there are also chemical risks to occupants and neighbours during the manufacturing process.

Even after the removal of a clandestine laboratory, residual chemical hazards mean the site continues to pose a health and environmental threat, and is considered to be a contaminated site. The presence of clan lab residues inside a dwelling may result in it being deemed unfit for human habitation.

Some examples of chemical residues (including toxic chemicals with potentially damaging health effects) are:

  • Illicit drugs, such as methamphetamine

  • Chemicals used in the manufacturing process

  • Waste and by-products.

Minimising risk for property owners and managers

Inhabiting the site of a former clandestine laboratory contaminated with a variety of chemical residues can result in serious health problems, particularly for children who are likely to be in contact with surfaces and furnishings containing these residues.

This can leave the property owner or manager at risk of legal action from tenants experiencing adverse health effects.

View the Australian Government’s guidelines regarding the cleanup of clandestine lab sites.

Chemical hazards: Assisting with cleanup

As we attend every clandestine laboratory site in Western Australia, we are highly experienced in dealing with the chemical hazards associated with drug manufacture and identifying possible contamination.

We produce a site report for every clandestine laboratory we attend, and this report is available to the property owner, manager and local government authorities by emailing

To assist in minimising the risks associated with renting out a potentially contaminated property, we offer two main services:

  • A testing and risk assessment service, whereby we analyse samples collected from a clandestine laboratory site for any chemical residues of drugs or precursors to attempted drug manufacture, with high quality information backed by our expert team of drug chemists.

  • A consultancy service, which combines statistics and chemistry to ensure you achieve cost-effective, legally defensible cleanup of a clandestine laboratory site (and incorporates the testing and risk assessment service outlined above).

To further minimise your risk, we emphasise that you should choose a fully accredited laboratory capable of producing legally defensible results.

At ChemCentre, we are the only laboratory in Western Australia currently accredited for forensic drug analysis and licensed to handle illicit drugs. Moreover, we are one of only three laboratories recommended in the Clandestine Drug Laboratory Remediation Guidelines , set by the Australian Government.

Read more about our analytical services for government and our state public health and safety responsibilities, which include emergency response and chemical risk assessment. Alternatively, contact our clandestine laboratory experts to find out more about clan lab chemical hazards.

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