There has been such an increase in methamphetamine labs in Richland County that officials are now labeling the locations where they're found.

There have been 45 meth lab busts in the county over the past three years, with triple the number last year compared to 2011.

And those are the ones known about.

Sheriff Leon Lott says the manufacturing process is very dangerous because the chemicals used can cause breathing problems, they're flammable and can explode.

Popular spots for the labs include homes, apartments, vehicles, in the woods or fields, and a growing number in hotel rooms.

Lott says that's especially serious because the chemical contamination is often not cleaned up, and becomes a risk to hotel guests and staffers.

So the sheriff says his department, fire marshals and emergency services personnel are labeling spots where labs are found.

After the locations are professionally cleaned and safe again, the labels will be removed.

And Lott is asking the public to notify law enforcement of suspicious activity that might be linked to a meth lab.