It has come to the attention of the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) that propane cylinders are being used in the manufacturing of methamphetamines, commonly referred to as “”crank.”
Manufacturers of this illegal substance are using propane cylinders for the storage and the use of anhydrous ammonia, NPGA said in a recent safety bulletin. These cylinders have been found in many states at cylinder exchange and refilling locations as well as in hotel rooms and mobile laboratories, where the manufacturing of this illegal substance takes place.
A blue-green stain on any brass portion of a service valve is evidence that it may have been in contact with anhydrous ammonia.
Note that Sherwood valves contain a green-coated valve stem. Additionally, a green thread sealing compound is used on some valves. These valves should not be confused with those that have been exposed to anhydrous ammonia.
The pungent odor of ammonia on or near the cylinder is also an indication. If you suspect that a propane cylinder contains or has contained anhydrous ammonia, exercise extreme caution and restrict access to the area.
It can be dangerous to move the cylinder due to the unknown integrity of the cylinder’s service valve. If you determine that it must be moved, keep in mind that hazards due to valve expulsion can be reduced by pointing the end of the container in which the valve is placed away from yourself and others and towards the most safe direction.
Immediately contact your fire department, hazardous materials emergency response unit or the nearest office of the United States Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for information on properly disposing of the cylinder.
If these respondents are not sure what to do, for assistance call (800) 728-2482, which is the contact number for an independent hazardous materials information resource.