The headaches, muscle aches and breathing problems began shortly after she moved in, but Julie McCoy Sabatino was slow to blame her house for making her sick.

She was shocked to realize she should: Methamphetamines had been produced in the house, just months before she bought it.

She began researching the history of the house and said she had to show proof of ownership to the Whitley County Health Department before she could see the department’s files on the property.

Correspondence between the home’s previous owners and the department explain that the county could only offer suggestions for how the home should be cleaned and had no way to ensure proper decontamination.

The previous owner – who had rented out the home to tenants who were arrested in connection with producing meth – said she had washed the walls of the home with bleach and other cleaners six times in an effort to properly clean it, according to a copy of the correspondence provided by McCoy Sabatino.

That probably wasn’t enough, according to federal guidelines on meth-lab cleanup recently issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The drug can seep into countertops and drywall. Most carpeting should probably be replaced. The remaining surfaces should be professionally tested for contamination, according to the guidelines.