A safety warning appeared in the newsletter which our local village sends out to homeowners. According to the article, meth cooks are getting propane tanks from hardware stores or wherever else they’re sold. They empty the tanks of propane and refill them with anhydrous ammonia. When they’re finished using the tanks, they take them back to the store where they are refilled with propane and sold to the public. Anhydrous ammonia is corrosive and it weakens the propane tank. Mixed with propane, it can be dangerous. The article advises that you inspect the propane tank you are about to buy for blue or greenish residue around the valve areas, Do not take any tank which has that residue. There is a website for the National Propane Gas Association which will have more details and pictures of tainted valves: www.npga.org
I checked on Snopes.com, an urban myth site.
They did confirm that anhydrous ammonia will cause damage to propane tanks. However they listed as “undetermined” as to whether these are being resold. If it is true, it is likely the tank trade-in programs that many retailers, like Home Depot, Lowes and perhaps the local grocery store, use.
It would probably behoove of all to check tanks if we use these tank trade-in programs.
And this is why we invested in our own propane tanks. (Not for this specifically, but so that we knew the tanks were in good shape and what had been done with them.)
This is good to know… my town just did away with the place that you could go have your own filled and now the only option is to do the trade in’s… this after I bought 2 tanks!
Note that Snopes indicates that the problem is unlikely. Why would a meth lab bother to return the tank. Especially if it bears tell-tale signs of having been used in a meth lab.
They don’t need the publicity.