By Christine Byers
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Sunday, Oct. 12 2008
Ed Bloor couldn’t explain his sudden outbreak of skin rashes, insomnia and mood
swings until he had a chance conversation with a cashier at a lumber yard.
Her words dashed Ed Bloor’s plans for a siding business in the home he had just
bought at the base of Mount St. Helens in Washington. And his wife’s dreams of
starting a day-care center there.
The cashier told him he was living in a former methamphetamine lab.
“It became the house from hell,” Eva Bloor said.
That was the beginning of a four-year legal fight that started with the Bloors’
being kicked out of their home. It ended with an unprecedented verdict in the
couple’s favor — the first time, experts said, a home seller was held liable
for neglecting to admit a home had been a meth lab.
Police reports show drug agents busted the home for meth and marijuana in
January 2002. They found meth-making supplies stored in a hot tub and arrested
the tenants. Court records show the landlords put the three-bedroom house up
for sale two years later, but checked “No” on a disclosure form asking if the
home had ever been used as a meth lab.
The Bloors bought it for $149,000 in late 2004 when they moved to Washington
state from southwestern Missouri. They fell in love with the three-bedroom home
on a two-acre lot bordering an evergreen forest. And, for the first three
months, Ed found an oasis in the outdoor hot tub, where he relaxed and watched
deer graze in his backyard.
Until that conversation with the cashier, he didn’t know the hot tub’s porous
fiberglass had absorbed toxic chemicals, leaving him soaking in a virtual meth
Eva Bloor, who has a nursing background, called the health department.
It was the first the agency had heard of the bust, despite a Washington law
requiring that health officials be immediately told of meth labs so the sites
can be condemned and cleaned.
(Missouri and Illinois do not require police to notify the health department.)
Even though the raid had taken place two years earlier, health officials
decided the risk was too great to let the Bloors stay. The department declared
the home and its contents contaminated and kicked the family out.
The Bloors lost photos taken over 30 years, along with family heirlooms.
“We were left with just the clothes on our backs,” Eva Bloor said. The house
went into foreclosure, and the couple sued the sellers, the real estate agent
and the county.
In 2006, a judge ordered the county, the home sellers and their real estate
agency to pay the Bloors $94,000. The home sellers had to take the house back
and pay off the Bloors’ mortgage. The real estate agent and agency were ordered
to pay $10,000 for a consumer protection violation. An appeals court upheld the
judgment this year. The real estate agent’s license could be suspended.
By 2007, doctors diagnosed Ed Bloor, 54, with kidney cancer and removed one
kidney. The couple blamed the meth exposure, but doctors could not say meth had
caused the health problems.
In early 2007, the Bloors moved back to Missouri. They said they couldn’t
qualify for a home loan because the foreclosure in Washington had ruined their
They now rent a house in Springfield, Mo. The only pictures they have of their
children were taken in the last four years.
Although frustrated about their credit scores, they don’t fault Washington
health officials for forcing them out of the home. They believe former meth
labs aren’t safe places to live.
And they are shocked that Missouri — the state with the most meth lab busts —
does not require police to notify health departments when a lab is found.
“Nothing is overkill when you are dealing with people’s health,” Eva Bloor
said. “People don’t realize how many homes have been used for this. There are
thousands out there.”
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